Man Featured On Netflix's "Dope" Sentenced On Drug-Trafficking Charges

By Paul Gaita 07/19/19

The anonymous tip that led to the man's arrest identified him as an alleged drug dealer and a participant in the Netflix series.

Ryan James Zettell from Netflix show Dope
Photo via YouTube

Ryan James Zettell, who appeared in the Netflix documentary series Dope, is facing a prison sentence of three to 20 years for his alleged involvement in a drug-trafficking scheme.

The 21-year-old Zettell was arrested by Oakland County, Michigan narcotics officers in January 2019 after an anonymous tip identified him as not only an alleged drug dealer, but also a participant in a second season episode of the Netflix series, which examines the war on drugs from the perspective of police, traffickers and users.

Zettell pled guilty to multiple charges of delivery and manufacture of controlled substances, including cocaine, acid and MDMA (or "Molly").

Zettell appeared in the third episode of the series' second season, which focused on the drug trade in Detroit's metro region. He identified himself by his alleged street name, "Ozone," and told the documentary crew that he hoped to go into criminal justice.

Anonymous Tip

The anonymous tip to the Oakland County Narcotic Enforcement Team in July 2018 mentioned his appearance in the series, as well as his alleged status as a dealer in the Troy, Michigan area and surrounding communities.

The narcotics team launched an investigation that, over the course of several months, arranged undercover buys of cocaine and Molly from Zettell.

After obtaining a search warrant for two locations where Zettell had been observed conducting allegedly illegal activities, detectives arrested him on January 29, 2019. A backpack containing digital scales, 62 tabs of acid, 29 grams of Molly, and a gram of cocaine was retrieved at the time of the arrest, while a .45 semiautomatic weapon, another gram of cocaine and more than $7,000 in cash were found at one of the aforementioned locations.

Guilty Plea

During questioning, Zettell admitted to Troy deputies that he had appeared on Dope. He was subsequently booked on controlled substance delivery/manufacture charges. In June 2019, Zettell pled guilty to all six charges. 

As Pop Culture Media noted, Zettell's arrest follows on the heels of the May 2019 capture of another Netflix series documentary subject, Megan "Monster" Hawkins, who was arrested after allegedly attempting to use another person's identification to open a bank account in Elk Grove, California.

Hawkins, who appeared on Jailbirds, was arrested on charges of possession of a stolen vehicle, misuse of personal ID and probation violation, and was taken to Sacramento Main Jail, where the series was filmed.

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Paul Gaita lives in Los Angeles. He has contributed to the Los Angeles Times, Variety, LA Weekly, and The Los Angeles Beat, among many other publications and websites.