A plea has been entered by a local man charged in a marijuana growing and distributing operation. Five area men were charged in 2015 following an investigation into the alleged operation. The investigation led authorities to the suspects’ homes, where 15 pounds of marijuana, about 550 plants and nearly $200,000 in cash was found and seized by police.

Among those charged is 48-year-old Jeffrey Allen Michael of Fowlerville, who recently appeared in Livingston County Circuit Court and pleaded guilty to two added counts of maintaining a drug house. In exchange, the Michigan Attorney General’s Office agreed to dismiss charges of delivering/manufacturing a controlled substance, felony firearms and conspiracy. Michael will be sentenced August 2nd. As for Michael’s co-defendants, Dennis James of Howell and Joseph Zubor of Gregory previously entered guilty pleas and were sentenced to probation in 2016. The case against Johnny Glen Cooper of Fenton was dismissed without prejudice.

The remaining co-defendant, Darryl Scott Berry of Howell, is scheduled for a status conference at the end of August. The charges against the five men were authorized almost two and a half years ago, but it was a stay in the case that caused a holdup for Michael and Berry. Marijuana plants that were collected during the investigation were destroyed by police before trial could commence, which prompted District Court Judge Carol Sue Reader to dismiss several charges against the pair. Judge Reader later reversed her decision and defense attorneys appealed. The appeal was denied by Judge Michael P. Hatty last June. (DK)