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‘Pretty remarkable haul,’ police say of 22-pound cocaine bust at Ford airport

By John Hogan/WZZM-TV • Apr 13, 2019 at 10:00 AM

GRAND RAPIDS — A tip and a drug-sniffing dog helped ferret out 22 pounds of cocaine that came through baggage claim at Gerald R. Ford International Airport.

Police seized 10 tightly-wrapped kilogram packages of cocaine from the checked luggage of two Detroit-area men. Their March 28 flight originated in Las Vegas with a stop in Chicago, police said.

“It’s a pretty remarkable haul for Grand Rapids,’’ said Michigan State Police Lt. Nate Grant, who oversees the Metropolitan Enforcement Team.

Remarkable indeed. Local police say the 10 kilograms confiscated two weeks ago is among the largest cocaine seizures in metro Grand Rapids. It has a street value of at least $1 million, Grant said.

The two men who claimed the drug-laden luggage appeared in 63rd District Court on Friday morning for a probable-cause hearing on felony charges that could put them in prison for life.

They are Eric Montez Pickett, 30, of Harper Woods, and Carey Henderson Jones, 37, of Detroit.

Each is charged with delivery/manufacture of more than 1,000 grams of cocaine and possession of more than 1,000 grams of cocaine. Both offenses are punishable by up to life in prison.

Pickett is currently on probation for a 2018 drug conviction in Wayne County.

Pickett and Jones will be back in court April 19 to hear evidence against them. Bond for each was set at $250,000.

Local police on March 28 received a heads-up from the Drug Enforcement Administration about three men traveling through the Grand Rapids airport carrying possible narcotics, according to court documents. Although the three were identified prior to their arrival, only Pickett and Jones are mentioned by name. They were contacted at the airport by detectives with the Metropolitan Enforcement Team, a multi-jurisdictional drug task force operating in Kent County.

A state police drug-sniffing dog named Yaro, accompanied by Trooper Joseph Bozek, detected the presence of narcotics in their checked luggage. Both men consented to a search.

Police found five packages of cocaine in each of their suitcases, Grant said.

“They kind of hide their travel,’’ Grant said, explaining why investigators believe the two flew into Grand Rapids rather than metro Detroit.

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