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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Michigan

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, October 15, 2021

Battle Creek Man Sentenced To 57 Months In Prison For Fentanyl Charge

Clay Shepherd Possessed 1.37 kilograms of the synthetic opioid

          GRAND RAPIDS, MICHIGAN — U.S. Attorney Andrew Byerly Birge announced today that Clay Shepherd, 57, of Battle Creek Michigan, was sentenced to 57 months in prison after pleading guilty to possession of fentanyl, a Schedule II controlled substance, with the intent to distribute it.  Following his release from federal prison, Shepherd will serve five years on supervised release.  United States District Judge Paul Maloney imposed the sentence. 

          Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 80-100 times stronger than morphine, the substance to which heroin metabolizes.  Drug traffickers add fentanyl to heroin to increase its potency or falsely claim that the fentanyl they are selling is highly potent heroin.

          On April 18, 2018, Battle Creek Police officers executed a search warrant at Shepherd’s residence and discovered a package containing 399 grams of fentanyl and tramadol and a package containing 975 grams of fentanyl concealed behind insulation in the attic.  The Battle Creek Police Department requested the assistance of federal authorities to investigate the matter further.  Investigators from Homeland Security Investigations (“HSI”) developed evidence that Shepherd possessed the fentanyl with the intent to distribute it by investigating his known associates and customers, who confirmed that Shepherd was selling narcotics and possessed the fentanyl seized on April 18.  

          “Clay Shepherd profited from distributing fentanyl, an opioid nearly 100 times more potent than morphine, without any regard to the destruction it caused to families or communities here in Michigan,” Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agent-in-Charge Vance Callender said.  “This complex investigation could not have been brought to conclusion without the outstanding partnership between HSI and Battle Creek PD.  Thank you to the hardworking and dedicated officers in Battle Creek.”

          U.S. Attorney Birge said, “My office will continue to aggressively pursue those who illegally peddle fentanyl to our community.  The illegal trafficking of this drug is responsible for a multitude of overdose deaths in our state, and we are committed to deterring the trafficking that leads to these tragedies.”

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Topic(s): 
Drug Trafficking
Updated October 15, 2021