By Paul Garrod
PAW PAW TWP. – Troopers assigned to Michigan State Police (MSP) Fifth District Hometown Security Team (HST) initiated a routine traffic stop around 9:40 a.m., Tuesday, March 7 upon eastbound Interstate 94 near mile marker 55 in Paw Paw Township. The traffic stop resulted in the largest fentanyl seizure in the state, according to a press release from MSP.
Improper lane use and cracked windshield were two of the traffic violations cited for the stop. Upon contact with driver, several indicators of criminal activity were detected and verbal consent to search the vehicle was obtained.
During the search, troopers discovered four kilos of fentanyl stuffed in a duffle bag. Each kilo was wrapped in an individual heat-sealed bag. Additional information obtained during this investigation led to the discovery of two additional kilos of suspected fentanyl at a second venue. Approximately $30,000 in cash was also seized at the latter location.
The driver, a 25-year-old California man and lone occupant of the vehicle, was arrested and transported to the Van Buren County Jail on possession with intent to deliver more than 1000 grams of fentanyl charges.
MSP said evidence showed he was transporting or smuggling fentanyl from California to Michigan. One kilo can produce approximately 500,000 fentanyl pills with a street value of approximately $1.5 million. In total, this seizure will undoubtedly save lives, as it disrupted the distribution of around three-million fentanyl laced pills with a total street value of $9 million, according to MSP.
MSP said fentanyl is the deadliest drug threat facing this country today. It is a highly addictive man-made opioid that is 50 times more potent than heroin. Just two milligrams of fentanyl, the small amount that fits on the tip of a pencil, is considered a potentially deadly dose, according to MSP.
For assistance with addiction: Michigan National Rehab at: https://nationalrehabhotline.org/michigan/ or call Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Hotline at 1(888) 733-7753. Recovery assistance is also offered through MSP Angel Program at: https://www.michigan.gov/msp/divisions/grantscommunityservices/angel.