DeBarge brothers convicted in drug case

KALAMAZOO, Mich. -- Two members of the singing DeBarge family face possible life prison terms and $4 million in fines after their conviction on cocaine trafficking charges.

Jonathan 'Chico' DeBarge, 22, and Robert 'Bobby' DeBarge, 26, and two other men were convicted by a federal jury Tuesday night on charges they conspired to smuggle more than two pounds of cocaine to Michigan from Los Angeles.


The DeBarge brothers, both Grand Rapids natives now living in Pasadena, Calif., Dwayne O. Hill, 24, of Grand Rapids, and Mark Douglas of Los Angeles, were ordered held in the Kalamazoo County Jail pending sentencing in January.

A hearing was scheduled Thursday before U.S. District Judge Richard Enslen to determine whether the men may be released on bond pending sentencing, court officials said.

The four were accused of conspiring with at least two other people to transport a kilogram -- or 2.2 pounds -- of cocaine from Los Angeles to West Michigan.

Hill and Jonathan DeBarge were stopped June 28 by federal drug agents during a routine inspection of incoming passengers at Detroit Metropolitan Airport. The agents seized packages of the drug from both men's carry-on bags.

The two then delivered the cocaine to Michael Jamison, 26, of Grand Rapids, under the drug agency's orders, to implicate their co-conspirators.


Hill and DeBarge voluntarily allowed agents to search their bags, authorities said.

Jamison earlier pleaded guilty to distribution of a kilogram of cocaine. He cooperated in the prosecution and faces up to 40 years in prison for his role in the trafficking.

Also testifying for the prosecution was Kim Davillier, 30, of Van Nuys, Calif., the girlfriend of another DeBarge brother not charged in the case.

She faces up to a year in federal prison on a charge of using a communication device to facilitate a drug transaction.

Federal authorities allege Jonathan DeBarge and Hill traveled to California June 25 intending to buy cocaine on Jamison's behalf.

Robert DeBarge, after telephoning his brother, went with two other men to a Los Angeles nightclub and purchased the drugs, authorities alleged.

Jonathan DeBarge and Hill then flew back to Detroit on a commercial flight with the cocaine in their carry-on luggage, authorities charged.

Authorities alleged Jonathan DeBarge and Hill made repeated contacts with Devillers, Douglas and Robert DeBarge in June to buy cocaine.

The 14-member DeBarge family began their singing career at Bethel Pentecostal Church in Grand Rapids.

Jonathan DeBarge, now a solo artist, released a solo album last year that reached No. 33 on the Billboard music charts for soul artists.


Robert DeBarge, a former member of the funk-rock group 'Switch' until it left Motown Records in 1981, also has become a successful solo performer and writes and arranges.

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