SAGINAW (WJRT) (11/02/2017) - Damon Wilbert spent more than a decade in prison for drug trafficking and was released from federal supervision three years ago.
He's back in jail facing new drug charges after local and federal authorities raided three houses connected to the 47-year-old on Saturday, finding a significant stash of drugs, according to documents filed in U.S. District Court.
Authorities are calling Wilbert a significant drug trafficker supplying the Saginaw area. He was convicted of dealing cocaine in 1997 and sentenced to 20 years in prison, but that sentence was reduced.
Wilbert was released early and completed his federal supervised release term in 2014. Then, he became the subject of another lengthy drug trafficking investigation this year.
The Bay Area Narcotics Team, the Flint Area Narcotics Group and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives raided a house on Niagara Street on the south side of Saginaw. Inside, they found more than 1 kilogram of cocaine and other drug paraphenalia, including scales and respirator masks.
Authorities also raided a Buena Vista Township home where Wilbert was living and a third house in Bridgeport Township.
Wilbert appeared in federal court on Thursday for a detention hearing, during which a judge ordered him to remain in jail while the case proceeds. Wilbert is facing a charge of cocaine possession with intent to deliver.
Dan Kleinbriel, who lives across the street from the Niagara Street house, was not surprised to learn about the alleged drug ring operating out of the house.
"They sell drugs all over this neighborhood -- every corner just about," he said. "If you leave your doors unlocked, you will be robbed."
Kleinbriel said the apartment building where he lives was raided by federal authorities last month. Other than that, he doesn't see many police officers in the area.
"If you don't carry a gun and someone comes up, you are robbed," Kleinbriel said. "That's how it is over here."
Kleinbriel hopes that Wilbert's arrest and the end of his drug ring will make the neighborhood safer, but he doubts whether the flow of drugs into the area will slow down.
"They can take 10 of them down, but 10 just show right up to days later," Kleinbriel said. "It's never going to stop."