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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Eastern District of Michigan
For Immediate Release
Dawn N. Ison , United States Attorney
www.justice.gov/usao-edmi
Thursday, October 19, 2023

Jackson Gang Member Admits to Conspiracy to Traffic Unique Form of Fentanyl

DETROIT – Lansing resident and member of the violent Jackson street gang “Thorough Bred Family,” Dominque Faulkner, 32, pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to distribute over 400 grams of fentanyl, United States Attorney Dawn N. Ison announced today.

Ison was joined in the announcement by James Deir, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Detroit Field Division; Colonel James F. Grady, II Michigan State Police; Director Elmer J. Hitt, Jackson Police and Fire Services; and Sheriff Gary Schuette, Jackson County Sheriff’s Department.

In his plea, Faulkner admitted that he and his co-conspirators distributed large amounts of fentanyl in Jackson. According to court documents, the fentanyl sold by the gang had a unique texture and coloring. Unlike most fentanyl, typically sold in powder form, TBF’s fentanyl was sold in a rock-like crystalline form, and was often colored yellow, purple, or blue, rather than the usual white. Court records also show that Faulkner and his fellow gang members possessed firearms in furtherance of the fentanyl trafficking conspiracy.

Following a coordinated crackdown on violent crime and fentanyl trafficking in Jackson County, including the investigation, arrest, incarceration, and prosecution of many TBF gang members and associates, Jackson County saw an approximately 48% reduction in non-fatal shootings, 43% reduction in fatal shootings, and 50% reduction in overdose deaths.

Four other co-conspirators have already pleaded guilty and have been sentenced or are awaiting sentencing:

  • Zaire Faulkner, age 24 of Jackson, was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison.
  • Tommy Owens, age 32 of Jackson, was sentenced to seven years and three months in federal prison.
  • Mario Murguia, age 23 of Jackson, was sentenced to five years in federal prison.
  • Demarquan Smith, age 21 of Jackson, will be sentenced on Jan. 30, 2024, and faces a 10-year mandatory/minimum prison term.

Charges remain pending against other co-conspirators, including Tamarious Faulkner, age 27 of Houston, Texas; Demond Johns, age 26 of Jackson; Brittany Bartkowiak, age 30 of Jackson; and Heather Dolan, age 37 of Jackson. They are set for jury trial on March 5, 2024. An indictment is only a formal charging document and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

“The intersection of drugs and gangs almost inevitably results in violence in our communities. My office, in coordination with our federal, state and local partners, will aggressively investigate and prosecute individuals or groups who sell poison to our communities.” U.S. Attorney Ison said.

“The Thorough Bred gang and Dominque Faulkner have terrorized the Jackson community for some time selling poison to the most vulnerable and through acts of gun violence,” said James Deir ATF Special Agent in Charge of the Detroit Field Division. “Two things are certain from this case: First, Jackson is a much safer community without Mr. Faulkner in it. Second, Dominique is better off in prison where he can reflect and seek redemption for all the lives he ruined.”

“We know it is a small number of individuals that wreak havoc in our community. Through our continued strong partnership with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, it is a priority to identify these individuals and build solid criminal cases should they choose to engage in continued reckless and violent behavior,” said Director Hitt.

“Our community is a safer place today because of all the dedicated law enforcement professionals who worked together to address the violence and drug dealing of the Thorough Bred Family street gang. The positive outcome of the case of Dominque Faulkner underscores the value of strong partnerships between local, state and federal agencies. I applaud the courage and resilience of the Jackson Community, and pledge to maintain our relentless pursuit of safety and justice for all,” stated Sheriff Gary R. Schuette, Jackson County Sheriff.

Dominque Faulkner is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 1, 2024, before Judge Stephen J. Murphy, III. Faulkner faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison with a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

This case was investigated by the ATF with the Michigan State Police, Jackson Police Department, and the Jackson County Sheriff's Office. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Andrew R. Picek, Matthew Roth and Craig Welkener.

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