DETROIT (The Center Square) – A Detroit man was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison for leading a drug organization that trafficked methamphetamine nationwide.

United States District Judge David M. Lawson sentenced the leader of that organization for his role overseeing the drug conspiracy and in a separate $2.1 million pandemic unemployment insurance fraud conspiracy.

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Robert Lampkin, 41, led a drug conspiracy that bought over 9 kilograms of methamphetamine from a supplier in California that codefendants JoShawn Bennett, 37, Tiffany Stockman, 24, and Tammie Wade, 32, brought back to Michigan in airline luggage.

Lampkin and codefendant Brenden Lockridge, 26, separately used stolen personal information of other individuals to file fraudulent claims for pandemic unemployment assistance in multiple states.

Lampkin’s and Lockridge’s sentences also require them to pay back the $2.1 million stolen from multiple states as restitution.

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United States Attorney Dawn Ison welcomed the sentencing.

“We will use every resource available to combat those who spread the scourge of illegal drugs in our communities,” Ison said in a statement. “We also won’t cease our efforts to hold accountable those who used a global pandemic to enrich themselves at the expense of taxpayers.”

This prosecution is part of an Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces investigation. OCDETF identifies, disrupts, and dismantles the highest-level drug traffickers, money launderers, gangs, and transnational criminal organizations.

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“The men and women of the DEA and our law enforcement partners remain committed to targeting interstate methamphetamine traffickers contributing to the nation’s drug crisis. This sentence reflects our continued resolve to partner with all our law-enforcement counterparts to fight greed, violence, and drug addiction,” DEA Special Agent in Charge Orville O. Greene said in a statement.

Agents of the Drug Enforcement Administration and Department of Labor Office of Inspector General investigated the case. Assistant United States Attorney Paul Kuebler prosecuted the case for the United States.

“Robert Lampkin conspired with Brenden Lockridge to file fraudulent unemployment insurance (UI) claims in the names of identity theft victims, receiving benefits to which they were not entitled. They enriched themselves by defrauding a program that was intended to assist struggling American workers during an unprecedented global pandemic,” stated Special Agent-in-Charge Irene Lindow, Great Lakes Region, U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General. “We and our law enforcement partners are committed to identifying and prosecuting the criminals who took advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic by using stolen identities to fraudulently obtain pandemic UI benefits.”

Ison was joined in the announcement by Orville O. Greene, Special Agent in Charge of the Detroit Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration, and Irene Lindow, Special Agent-in-Charge, Great Lakes Region, U.S. Department of Labor Office of Inspector General.