KALAMAZOO, MI. – Candi Taylor, 39, of Kalamazoo, Michigan, was sentenced to nine years in prison last Friday by Chief U.S. District Judge Hala Y. Jarbou for possession with intent to distribute 1.5 kilograms of fentanyl.
A street-level drug dealer, Taylor, possessed a large quantity of fentanyl because she was transferring it from one higher-level dealer to another.
“Make no mistake about it, my office is committed to prosecuting the traffickers who are distributing fentanyl and other illegal drugs and the dealers who sell it,” said Mark Totten, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Michigan. “Together with our law enforcement partners, we are fighting to save lives against deadly drugs and working to keep our communities safe.”
Taylor’s charges and conviction stemmed from her arrest on March 2, 2022. The Kalamazoo Valley Enforcement Team (KVET), a multi-jurisdictional narcotics task force, had been investigating Taylor for her involvement with fentanyl distribution in and around Kalamazoo. KVET obtained a warrant to search Taylor’s residence, vehicle, and her elderly father’s residence, which law enforcement believed Taylor was using as a stash house.
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Taylor was in her vehicle in the driveway of her home when KVET executed the warrants and officers found her with a baggie containing approximately ten grams of fentanyl in her hand and a digital scale nearby.
Investigators found two more baggies in her coat pocket containing over 100 grams of fentanyl. The search of Taylor’s elderly father’s house yielded over 1,400 grams of fentanyl in a locked toolbox that Taylor was temporarily holding to transfer to a larger-scale dealer. Taylor pled guilty to possession with the intent of distributing the fentanyl she stashed at her elderly father’s residence.
“The potential consequences of Ms. Taylor’s actions, for the residents of Kalamazoo and surrounding communities, is unfortunately, not inconceivable,” said DEA Detroit Special Agent in Charge Orville O. Greene. “With our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners, we are committed to providing the resources necessary to combat drug trafficking in our communities. These arrests should send a clear message that drug trafficking on any level will not be tolerated.”
In announcing Taylor’s sentence, Chief U.S. District Judge Hala Y. Jarbou recognized that Taylor was primarily a street-level dealer but observed that she made a “huge mistake” and took a “huge gamble” by offering to hold and transfer 1.5 kilograms of fentanyl from one dealer to another.
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Jarbou further observed that individuals who transport for larger-scale dealers must face consequences. Taylor had prior convictions for retail fraud, carrying a concealed weapon, unarmed robbery, and fleeing from police, which Judge Jarbou also considered when imposing the sentence.
“The poisoning of our community by drug dealers pushing fentanyl into the hands of Kalamazoo residents is devastating,” said Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety Acting Chief David Boysen. “The end user, their family, and the community bear the burdens of the drug dealer’s desire for material gains. Today’s sentence is clear evidence that the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety will, through targeted enforcement, work tirelessly to stop drug dealers from destroying lives” added Boysen.