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Man convicted in Superior fentanyl bust

More than 2½ years after he initially was arrested at the Baywalk Inn in Superior with more than 80 grams of fentanyl in his room, Michael Clark, 34, of Chicago, has been convicted of possessing the powerful drug with intent to distribute.

Since his Oct. 14, 2015 apprehension, the scope and impact of Clark's drug-dealing activities in the Twin Ports has come into much sharper and troubling focus.

A separate federal prosecution in the Northern District of Illinois, resulted in Clark's conviction Sept. 7, 2017 on a different count of conspiring to distribute fentanyl, and in the course of that case, Facebook messages surfaced as evidence. In one exchange, Clark seemed to brag about the deadly potency of his product, saying: "It's real good. They been overdosing on it too much i need to hit it bro we killed like 4ppl," the Chicago Tribune reported.

That Facebook message, appearing to boast about fatal overdoses, was sent just days before Clark's arrest in Superior on suspicion of dealing the drug in the Twin Ports.

Clark's 2017 conviction resulted in a 71-month prison sentence that he's currently serving.

But Clark has yet to be sentenced for his latest federal conviction announced Tuesday in Madison. Chief U.S. District Judge James D. Peterson is expected to mete out Clark's punishment at a July 20 hearing, where the felon will face a mandatory minimum sentence of five years and a maximum of 40 years in federal prison.

Clark's legal tribulations won't end there though.

In December 2016, he was indicted by a Cook County (Ill.) grand jury on three counts of attempted murder in Chicago's Englewood neighborhood. Those charges stem from Clark's alleged involvement in a suspected gang-related shooting that left then-4-year-old Jacele Johnson with a bullet wound to the head in May 2015. She survived the incident but has required ongoing therapy for the traumatic brain injury she sustained. Also injured in the shooting to a lesser extent were Johnson's 17-year-old cousin and another 15-year-old girl. Clark allegedly was a member of the S-Dub faction of the Gangster Disciples, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Just five months after the shooting in Chicago, Clark was hitting the streets of the Twin Ports, where he was known to customers as "Big Mike."

When members of the Northwest Area Crime Unit burst in on Clark in a Superior motel room he had rented for the night, officers found him cutting, weighing and packaging fentanyl into 0.5 gram quantities for apparent street sale. After searching through Clark's pockets and a dresser drawer, police also seized $1,475 in cash.

Fentanyl is a highly potent painkiller that's often interlaced with heroin to boost its impact, sometimes to fatal effect.

In a statement, U.S. Attorney Scott Blader said: "Fentanyl has proven to be a lethal substance linked to scores of overdose deaths in Wisconsin. My office is committed to prosecuting those who distribute and profit from this deadly drug."

Clark's rap sheet in the Twin Ports is lengthy. In January 2010, he was convicted by the U.S. District Court in Duluth for conspiracy to distribute cocaine base and was sentenced to 60 months in prison.