FLINT — A Lansing man was arrested by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Thursday at the headquarters of a local motorcycle club in Owosso, and has been indicted by a federal grand jury on three felony counts of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, and one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.
Paul Anthony DiPonio, 48, was charged by the United States Attorney for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan with “knowingly and intentionally possess(ing) with intent to distribute 5 grams or more of methamphetamine” and also “knowingly possessed a firearm, a Taurus model PT111 G2 9mm handgun, in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.”
There are several dates for the offenses listed in the indictment, beginning in June 2018 through Oct. 17, 2019.
Diponio was charged by Shiawassee County prosecutors Sept. 30 with felony delivery/manufacture of a Schedule 1, 2 or 3 drug, as well as several traffic-related misdemeanors, following a June 14 traffic stop by Michigan State Police.
According to a motion filed by government attorneys Nov. 6, the indictment was under seal because “the U.S. is apprehensive that one or more persons may flee the jurisdiction, or that possibly, other evidence may be destroyed if they become aware of the existence of said indictment and arrest warrants.”
DiPonio's grand jury indictment of was under seal until his arrest in Owosso Thursday, the same day U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael Hluchaniuk ordered the indictment unsealed.
Additionally, the state felony meth charge against DiPonio was dismissed by Shiawassee County prosecutors the same day, according to court records.
DiPonio faces five to 40 years in prison on each possession with intent to distribute count, and up to 10 years on the firearm charge.
Federal prosecutors have also filed a motion stating that if DiPonio is convicted, he must “forfeit to the U.S. any property constituting or derived from any proceeds which the defendant obtained, directly or indirectly, or any property traceable thereto.” Prosecutors specifically mention in their filing the Taurus 9mm handgun DiPonio was charged with possessing.
A message seeking comment was left with the Detroit DEA office, but was not returned before press time.
DiPonio is currently being held in the Genesee County jail. Further court dates have not yet been scheduled.
The DEA was assisted with DiPonio’s arrest at the Chipman Street scene by the Michigan State Police and Shiawassee County Sheriff’s Office, and DiPonio was arrested without incident.