DEA arrests trucking company owner for drugs and gun


The Michigan-based trucking company owner is out on bail after DEA agents arrested him on firearm and drug charges after raiding his home and businesses last week.

In the criminal complaint, 35-year-old Zijad Balic of Macomb Township was released on an unsecured $100,000 bail on Friday, two days after being charged with possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance and use of a firearm in connection with a drug trafficking offence, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.

Federal authorities also searched two locations registered with Balic and his trucking company, Northwest Transportation Inc. Balic was granted common carrier authority in July 2012 and has 31 power units and 30 drivers, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration‘s safer data.

In the arrest affidavit, DEA agents claimed to have found 1-inch-by-1-inch plastic bags, which can be used to repackage drugs for distribution, and a bottle of acetone, which can be used to “repackage brick cocaine” at a storefront registered with Balic and Northwest Transportation in Macomb. The report claims officers also found an LWRC Model SMG-45, a .45 caliber pistol, in the site’s laundry room.

DEA agents raid homes and businesses

Federal authorities also raided Northwest Transportation’s 27-acre truck park in Warren, Michigan. The arrest affidavit says DEA agents found approximately half a kilogram of a white powdery substance that appeared to be cocaine in a locked refrigerator in a shed on the trucking company’s property. The key was found in a coffee maker inside the shed.

“The suspected cocaine was packaged in approximately five plastic bags, in accordance with drug repackaging for distribution,” the affidavit states.

The report says a Sig Sauer P-320 pistol registered to Balic, a bulletproof vest, six bags containing approximately 100 pills each of suspected amphetamines and several pounds of marijuana were found in the hangar owned by Northwest Transportation .

Officers also found a balance and an undisclosed amount of cash at the site.

The affidavit states that a DEA drug detector dog “alert” the smell of drugs emanating from a tractor truck and a Dodge Challenger, both registered in Balic, which were parked near the office hangar. Officers found a Springfield XPS 9mm pistol after searching the Challenger.

Owner is allowed to continue running a trucking business on bail

Prior to Balic’s release, his attorney, James C. Thomas, asked U.S. Magistrate Judge Elizabeth A. Stafford if Balic could continue to run his trucking operation.

“He has 30 contract employees who regularly transport from there. We don’t believe the company was involved in any of the direct allegations that are here. However, just to be clear, I want to make sure he has the ability to return to his job. Thomas stated during the bail proceedings in person.

Judge Stafford said Balic could continue to operate his trucking business, which hauls general freight, metal, paper products and auto parts, but has limited travel in the Eastern District of Michigan unless he has received the prior consent of the service office before the court trial.

Balic’s preliminary review hearing is set for May 6 in Detroit.

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Writer Grace Sharkey contributed to this report

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