DETROIT, MI – Demarco Tempo, the architect of a heroin, crack cocaine, and fentanyl dealing operation that went by the name “Polo” and was described by several former customers as a “McDonald’s for drugs,” was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison for drug distributions resulting in several overdoses and the death of at least one victim. Tempo was the last of thirteen convicted defendants in this conspiracy to be sentenced.
“The drug dealers in this case had a complete disregard for life, and the heroin and fentanyl they sold killed a Michigan resident who was struggling with addiction,” said United States Attorney Matthew Schneider. “The life-saving efforts of the local police and first responders prevented numerous other senseless deaths. Now, with the architect of this drug dealing scheme behind bars for the next 30 years, people suffering from addiction will have a better chance at recovery.”
“The success of this investigation is a testament to collaboration between federal and local law enforcement partners in targeting and dismantling heroin distribution rings in Southeastern Michigan, stated Special Agent in Charge Keith Martin. “Communities throughout the state need not worry about Mr. Tempo and his drug business for the next quarter century.”
According to court records, from 2012 through his arrest in June 2016, Tempo led the “Polo” organization, a group of drug traffickers on the east side of Detroit who sold heroin and crack cocaine all day, every day, to hundreds, if not thousands, of customers. The phone numbers used to contact “Polo” were well known and widely used in the surrounding areas: one fifteen-month period showed 416,934 contacts on the two main numbers, an average of more than 900 per day.
Around the beginning of 2016, Tempo and his co-conspirators began selling fentanyl mixed with—and sometimes substituted altogether for—heroin to unsuspecting customers. A rash of near-fatal overdoses in nearby Warren— and one that resulted in the tragic death of a 19-year-old Warren woman—led to an investigation by the Warren Police Department and Drug Enforcement Administration. Using a wide variety of techniques during an intensive three-month investigation, including physical and electronic surveillance, undercover purchases, search warrants, and customer interviews, law enforcement ultimately identified several members of the Polo operation, arresting and charging thirteen—including Tempo, who was caught red-handed with seven cell phones, including the two main “Polo” phones—between June and September 2016.
Most of these defendants faced the most serious charges: conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute heroin, crack cocaine, fentanyl, and powder cocaine, resulting in death or serious bodily injury; distribution of heroin and fentanyl resulting in death or serious bodily injury; and possession of heroin and crack cocaine with intent to distribute, within 1,000 feet of a school. Three defendants (Randy Stewart, Darreyl Coneal, and Amacio Alexander) were not charged with overdose counts, based on their limited participation in the crimes. Eleven traffickers pleaded guilty, and two—Tempo and his half-brother, Kenneth Sadler—were convicted in March 2019 following a five-week trial. Sadler was also convicted at that trial of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and with witness intimidation counts, for threats made to multiple witnesses while the original charges were pending.
Altogether, these defendants were sentenced to terms in federal prison totaling more than 130 years. A complete summary of the sentences follows:
Demarco Tempo, a/k/a “Polo”: sentenced on February 14, 2020, to 30 years.
Kenneth Sadler, a/k/a “KO”: sentenced on October 9, 2019, to 25 years.
Darius Gordon, a/k/a “Debo”: sentenced on September 13, 2018, to 11 years.
Haratio Heard, a/k/a “Show”: sentenced on August 28, 2018, to 10 years [(shot and killed on October 23, 2018, while pending surrender to begin serving his sentence)].
Juwan Allen, a/k/a “Juan”: sentenced on June 14, 2018, to 10 years.
Greg Howard, a/k/a “G”: sentenced on August 3, 2018, to 10 years.
Marcus Gilbert: sentenced on September 13, 2018, to 103 months.
Alvin Coates: sentenced on September 13, 2018, to 87 months.
Javon Brown, a/k/a “J”: sentenced on April 25, 2019, to 87 months.
Dennis Jones, a/k/a “Shorty”: sentenced on April 30, 2018, to 7 years.
Randy Stewart, a/k/a “Bookie”: sentenced on July 28, 2017, to 5 years.
Darreyl Coneal: sentenced on May 7, 2018, to 3 years.
Amacio Alexander: sentenced on May 1, 2019, to 1 year.