PAW PAW TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Michigan State Police say they found 4 kilograms of fentanyl during a traffic stop in Southwest Michigan Tuesday.
MSP says that around 9:40 a.m., a pulled a driver over on eastbound I-94 west of Paw Paw for improper lane use and cracked windshield.
MSP says the trooper noticed “several indicators of criminal activity.” It didn’t explain exactly what those were, but Lt. DuWayne Robinson said the troopers used their drug interdiction training to spot them. The driver gave the trooper permission to search the car.
In the car, the trooper found 4 kilos of fentanyl in a duffel bag. Troopers then learned of two more kilos elsewhere in Michigan. When they went to get it, they seized $30,000 in cash.
Police say the driver of a the car, a 25-year-old California man, is believed to have been bringing fentanyl from California to the Detroit area. He was arrested for possession with intent to deliver. His name was not released pending arraignment.
MSP says it’s the largest single fentanyl seizure from a traffic stop ever recorded in Michigan. They said the 6 kilos of fentanyl could have created 3 million fentanyl-laced pills with a street value of some $9 million.
“We know that the I-94 corridor is a main drug corridor for criminals and for drug smuggling, for human trafficking,” Robinson said. “So yes, when we are making our routine traffic stops, we are being trained to make sure that we are looking out for signs of additional criminal activity that may be taking place. We know that it could mean life or death for someone or for many, and so we do not just go up just focused on the traffic stop itself. It would be a disservice to the public if we did that.”
Fentanyl is a particularly dangerous opioid that is often cut with other drugs.
“Anytime that illegal drugs are taken off the street, it’s a win for communities. Focusing on the supply chain and the dealer system, rather than those who may be battling addiction, is the best way to keep people safe and healthy in Grand Rapids and across the state,” a Grand Rapids Police Department spokesperson said.
MOTHER: ‘IT ENDED EVERYTHING’
“I know the rate now because once you are a victim you hear about it all,” Jill Fox said.
Her daughter, Izabel Fox, lost her life due to fentanyl.
“It ended everything. It ended her life and ended my life in many, many ways,” Jill Fox said. “She made a not-so-good choice, but it did not have to kill her.”
Almost two years later, the loss of her 19 year-old daughter to a fentanyl-laced pill still tears the mother apart.
“There is no words,” Jill Fox said. “Every second of every day I miss her. … Just now we’re starting to hear it, but that’s after hundreds of thousands of victims. I’m so glad that people are starting to finally expose it.”
In Kent County, 83 people died in 2022 from fentanyl, according to the Kent County Medical Examiner’s office.
“I get reached out to more and more from mothers with very similar cases, very, very similar cases and that’s infuriating as well that there are that many,” Jill Fox said.
The Fox family knows firsthand that what they’re calling the fentanyl crisis can quickly end a life and change life for others.
“I would just love to see this war on fentanyl happen more. I don’t know what that looks like. I wish I did, I’d be out doing it right now,” Jill Fox.
Click here for information on addiction resources through the Red Project in Grand Rapids.
Information on addiction resources through through the Red Project in Grand Rapids can be found at redproject.org.