CADILLAC — Two Northern Michigan men who were arrested after a drug raid in Cadillac in April have pleaded guilty.
"We cannot tolerate drug dealers in this Wexford County," said Wexford County Prosecutor Jason Elmore, upon announcing on Friday that Robert "Opie" Corwin had pleaded guilty to methamphetamine charges.
Robert James Corwin, a Suttons Bay man who was 27 at the time of his arrest in April, pleaded guilty to both conspiracy to deliver, and possession of, methamphetamine.
John Kempisty, 46, of Reed City, also pleaded guilty to a drug charge. He was arrested as a result of a raid that had targetted Corwin.
Kempistry pleaded guilty to possession of methamphetamine and possession of a firearm by a felon.
Elmore praised the work of law enforcement officers.
"These two cases were all due to the excellent cooperation of our local TNT officers and the JOLT officers from Charlevoix," he wrote in an email to reporters.
Joint Operational Law Enforcement Team (JOLT) from Charlevoix and the Traverse Narcotics Team (TNT) worked with an informant to arrest Corwin.
Corwin and the informant planned to meet in an alley behind Party Lounge and Mitchell Street Pub in downtown Cadillac, where Corwin was going to sell meth and a firearm for $450. Officers planned to arrest Corwin then.
But officers and the informant backed out of the plan due to "the darkness of the alley and unsafe circumstances," Elmore wrote. "These can be dangerous situations when drugs, guns, and money are involved."
Instead, officers raided a nearby apartment, where they found Corwin, the gun and several grams of methamphetamine. Corwin told police he was staying with the resident of the apartment for a few days, Elmore said.
During surveillance of the scene where the planned exchange between Corwin and the informant was supposed to happen, officers took note of Kempistry's truck, which was parked behind the Party Lounge. The Michigan State Police Fugitive Team were looking for him, as he was an alleged parole absconder and they had a warrant for his arrest.
On April 17, officers saw Kempistry approaching his vehicle and searched him, finding the drugs and the gun, Elmore said. Kempistry wasn't supposed to have a firearm because of prior felony convictions.
Corwin faced additional charges than the ones he pleaded guilty to, but habitual offender, delivery and firearm charges were dismissed.
Corwin pleaded guilty to the possession and the conspiracy charges shortly after Kempistry, in his own plea deal, agreed to testify against Corwin.
Sentencings for both are expected next month.
Kempistry's sentence for Friday's plea "will run consecutive to any time on the paroled felony case," Elmore said.
For Corwin, his plea could mean as much as 20 years.
"Based on the sentencing guidelines, prison is likely for Corwin; however, sentencing is up to the court," Elmore said.