Game over: Drug kingpin sentenced to 22 years after Novi PlayStation bust

By: Charity Meier | Novi Note | Published April 26, 2023

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DETROIT — A leader of a national drug ring and money laundering scheme will serve a long term in prison after the Universal Product Code on a Sony PlayStation box led federal agents to make a bust in Novi.

Judge Terrence G. Berg, of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, sentenced Maurice Montain McCoy Jr., 41, of Moreno Valley, California, to 22 years in prison on March 29. McCoy was the leader of a national drug ring that had international ties, according to a press release from Dawn N. Ison, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan. She said McCoy trafficked fentanyl, heroin and cocaine across the country.

Novi was one of multiple distribution hubs, according to Ison’s office. Over 30 kilograms of fentanyl and more than $500,000 in cash was seized from the organization’s stash house in Novi, according to the press release. The Drug Enforcement Administration’s seizure was the largest fentanyl seizure in Michigan and one of the largest in the United States at the time, according to the release.

“Fentanyl is now the leading cause of overdose deaths. The number of lives saved by this seizure is inestimable,” Ison said in the press release. “Our office will hold drug traffickers accountable for exposing our community to dangerous drugs.”

McCoy reportedly claimed he was unaware that his product contained fentanyl and expressed remorse for his actions in court.

The bust was made after federal agents traced a UPC on a Sony PlayStation box that had been used to deliver heroin to a drug customer, according to Ison. A PlayStation with that UPC was located and found to be active in a Novi condominium, 3 miles away from the Walmart where agents had arrested the courier with the box.

Federal agents identified multiple couriers who were responsible for delivering drugs, transporting bulk currency, and/or laundering money, according to the release. This reportedly led to multiple arrests and additional seizures at hubs found in Indianapolis and Baltimore.

“To date, 18 people have been charged and 16 have been convicted. Two are pending trial for money laundering conspiracy in July,” said Gina Balaya, public affairs officer of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit.

“The role of IRS Criminal Investigation in narcotics investigations is to follow the money so we can financially disrupt and dismantle international drug trafficking organizations,” Charles Miller, IRS Criminal Investigation, acting special agent in charge, Detroit Field Office, said in a press release. “We are proud to work hand-in-hand with our law enforcement partners to bring these criminals to justice.”

At the time of his arrest, McCoy was living the high life, according to the release. He reportedly owned a Porsche Panamera, had purchased expensive jewelry — including diamond and gold pendants for some members of his drug organization — and owned a half-million-dollar home in the greater Los Angeles area.

McCoy faced a minimum of 15 years and up to life in prison, as this was not his first drug charge. He previously served 10 years in federal prison for a drug conviction in California. Prosecutor Andrea Hutting sought to have him serve 30 years, while his attorney, Maria Mannarino, was seeking the minimum sentence. Berg met them somewhat in the middle by handing down the sentence of 22 years.

“The sentencing of Mr. McCoy should serve as a reminder to those who choose to traffic poison in our communities, that they will be held accountable,” Orville O. Greene, special agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Detroit Division, stated in a press release. “Mr. McCoy, having served a prior term in federal prison, was well aware of the potential consequences of his actions. The DEA will continue to work with our federal, state and local partners to target the sources of supply and their drug trafficking networks throughout the state of Michigan and elsewhere.”

The case was investigated by agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration and the IRS as part of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Southeast Regional Strike Force.