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Department of Justice

U.S. Attorney's Office
Northern District of Indiana
For Immediate Release
Clifford D. Johnson, United States Attorney
www.justice.gov/usao-ndin
Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Michigan City Man Sentenced to 444 Months in Prison

SOUTH BEND –Rico Marion, 44 years old, of Michigan City, Indiana, was sentenced by United States District Court Judge Damon R. Leichty after pleading guilty to conspiracy to distribute fentanyl and possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking, announced United States Attorney Clifford D. Johnson.

Marion was sentenced to 444 months in prison followed by 5 years of supervised release.

According to documents in the case, from June through mid-August 2021, Marion conspired with others to distribute fentanyl in the Michigan City area. Marion sold pills purporting to be oxycodone that were actually fentanyl and he possessed numerous firearms during the length of the conspiracy. In August 2021, Marion and a co-defendant were caught traveling back to Michigan City with over a kilogram of fentanyl pills.

“Today’s 37 year sentence was imposed on Mr. Marion for his role in distributing hundreds of grams of fentanyl to the streets of Northern Indiana,” said United States Attorney Clifford D. Johnson.  “Fentanyl is 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine meaning as little as 2 milligrams can kill.  Our federal, state and local law enforcement partners are focused on dismantling organizations that distribute this deadly illicit drug.”

“The sentence imposed reflects the commitment of the DEA, alongside our local and federal law enforcement and prosecution partners, to hold fentanyl traffickers accountable while keeping Hoosiers safe and healthy,” said Alfred A. Cooke, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration-Merrillville District Office.

“This sentence is an excellent example of how law enforcement partnerships are a force multiplier in investigating and  prosecuting cases that have a large impact on the community,” said ATF Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Chicago Field Division Jeffrey L. Matthews. “I commend the efforts of all the investigators, agents and prosecutors who worked together to hold this defendant accountable.”

This case was investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration (including the Chicago Field Division, the Merrillville District Office, the Amarillo Resident Office and the Albuquerque District Office) with the assistance of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the LaPorte County Drug Task Force, an Indiana HIDTA Initiative and the Michigan City Police Department.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Kimberly L. Schultz and Joel Gabrielse.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN), a program bringing together all levels of law enforcement and the communities they serve to reduce violent crime and gun violence, and to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone. On May 26, 2021, the Department launched a violent crime reduction strategy strengthening PSN based on these core principles: fostering trust and legitimacy in our communities, supporting community-based organizations that help prevent violence from occurring in the first place, setting focused and strategic enforcement priorities, and measuring the results.

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