Shelby – Utica – Macomb
■ FORMER MACOMB TOWNSHIP TRUSTEE STRIKES PLEA DEAL IN RIZZO BRIBERY CASE. According to court records, a plea deal has been struck between former Macomb Township Trustee Clifford Freitas and federal prosecutors in a wide-ranging public corruption case. This federal court case is scheduled to take place on June 1st, where Freitas is expected to plead guilty. Along with Freitas, four other former public officials are close to being prosecuted for the long-term bribery conspiracy with Rizzo Environmental Services. Although the nature of the plea hearing is not certain, it is known that Freitas is charged with bribery conspiracy with federal funds, which happens to be a five-year felony. Between July 2015 and January 2016, Freitas received approximately $7,500 in bribery money from Rizzo.
The only former trustee in the corruption case to not receive a plea deal is Clinton Trustee Dean Reynolds. In November 2016, Reynolds was indicted and accused supporting Rizzo’s $3.5 million annual contract deal by pocketing $50,000-$70,000 in bribery money from Rizzo. Reynolds was also charged with taking $17,000 in bribery money from an undercover FBI agent. In November, Former Chesterfield Township supervisor Michael Lovelock was indicted on four counts of conspiracy and demanding bribes in exchange for altering his decisions as supervisor. Rizzo has provided their garbage hauling services in the county for the past twelve years, and Lovelock is accused of receiving bribes totaling to over $30,000 from 2010-2016.
■ SHELBY TOWNSHIP RAID TURNS UP DRUGS, GUNS, CASH. A criminal complaint filed in federal court charges Nua Gjokaj with possession and intent to distribute controlled substances, according to court records. During the recent raid at his home on Chirco Court in Shelby Township, agents from Homeland Security found approximately five pounds of marijuana, thirty-three guns, and more than $90,000 in cash. The raid was part of a larger operation by Homeland Security Investigations.
As Gjokaj’s home was being searched, a simultaneous raid was conducted at his business, Da Facility, located in Detroit. HSI Agents allegedly found approximately 300 grams of heroin and over 1500 pills believed to be Xanax and Hydrocodone. Twenty-one guns were found with multiple serial numbers scratched off, and all drugs were concealed within a furnace in the basement of his business. Gjokaj was at Da Facility during the search, and was inspected. He was found to be carrying 30.5 grams of cocaine in his jacket at the time of the arrest.