MC man gets 6 years on cocaine charges

Quonzee Merriweather

SOUTH BEND — A Michigan City man with a history of drug arrests was sentenced to six years in federal prison on Thursday after being convicted of dealing cocaine, according to federal prosecutors.

Quonzee Merriweather, 25, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Jon E. DeGuilio to 72 months for distribution of a mixture and substance containing a detectable amount of cocaine, according to U.S. Attorney Thomas Kirsch. After that sentence is completed, he must serve three years of supervised release.

A three-count federal indictment filed in October 2017 charged Merriweather and Cameo Crawford of distributing cocaine in Michigan City; and with being felons in possession of a firearm, according to court documents.

In a plea agreement filed in June of this year, Merriweather pleaded guilty to the cocaine charge, admitting that, "On Oct. 12, 2017, I sold a quantity of cocaine to an individual I did not know was working for law enforcement in Michigan City, Indiana."

Prosecutors agreed to drop the firearm charge in exchange for the guilty plea.

In a sentencing memorandum, the judge also ordered Merriweather to be placed in a facility where he can receive substance abuse counseling, and a mental health evaluation and treatment as deemed necessary.

Merriweather has at least three previous felony and two misdemeanor convictions, and also has violated probation multiple times, according to federal prosecutors.

In August of 2013, Merriweather was arrested and charged in La Porte County with possession marijuana/hash oil/hashish; resisting law enforcement; and possession of paraphernalia, according to court records. He pleaded guilty to resisting and was sentenced to a year's probation.

According to previous reports, Merriweather was arrested again in February 2014 in Michigan City by the Fugitive Apprehension Street Team (FAST) as part of an initiative called "Operation Heartbreak," in which a total of 36 people were arrested in Michigan City and La Porte County.

Merriweather was charged with dealing cocaine within 1,000 feet of a family housing complex, dealing methamphetamine within 1,000 feet of a public housing complex, and dealing cocaine within 1,000 feet of a school, according to court records. He pleaded guilty to the first count and was sentenced to 3 years in prison, 1 year of work release, 2 years of electronic monitoring and 4 years' probation, according to court records.

In May 2018, Merriweather was charged in La Porte County with dealing cocaine and dealing a look-alike substance, but those charges were later dropped because of the pending federal charges.

State authorities had filed three separate probation revocation motions against Merriweather on his cocaine conviction, and he was being held at the Westville Correctional Center when the federal charges were announced.

The latest case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms with the assistance of Michigan City Police.

—From staff reports

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