MSP seizes record amount of fentanyl in Van Buren County traffic stop

Published 12:23 pm Wednesday, March 8, 2023

VAN BUREN COUNTY — A routine traffic stop Tuesday in Paw Paw Township led to an arrest in what Michigan officials are calling one of the largest fentanyl seizures in state history.

Troopers assigned to Michigan State Police Fifth District Hometown Security Team initiated a routine traffic stop around 9:40 a.m. on Tuesday, March 7 upon eastbound I-94 near mile marker 55 in Paw Paw Township. Improper lane use and cracked windshield are 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 lodged in the Van Buren County jail on possession with intent to deliver more than 1000 grams of fentanyl charges.

Evidence shows he was transporting or smuggling fentanyl from California to Michigan.

According to HST members, this was the largest seizure of fentanyl on a traffic stop in 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.

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. For assistance with addiction, please visit 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.