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Press Release

Detroit Business Owner Charged with Possessing Over 40 kilograms of Fentanyl in Basement Stash House

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Michigan

DETROIT – A Detroit gas station owner has been charged with several federal crimes stemming from his involvement with a Detroit-based stash house that held over 40 kilograms of fentanyl, a pill press, and a variety of other materials used to manufacture fentanyl pills, United States Attorney Dawn N. Ison announced today.

Ison was joined in the announcement by Orville Greene, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration and Chief Thomas Goralski, Livonia Police Department.

On March 28, 2024, law enforcement executed search warrants at three locations connected to Barry Willis, 55, a resident of Clinton Township and owner of a Detroit gas station. Officers searched Willis’s primary residence in Clinton Township, his gas station in Detroit, as well as his suspected stash house in Detroit. In the basement of the stash house, officers recovered over 40 kilograms of fentanyl in both pill and powder form, as well as a hoard of materials for manufacturing fentanyl pills such as a pill press, narcotics scales, and drug recipes. Officers further located two handguns at the stash house, one at Willis’s residence, and another at his gas station, as well as over $100,000 in cash from Willis’s Clinton Township residence.

“This case represents the largest law enforcement seizure of fentanyl in the state of Michigan to date. We are incredibly proud of our law enforcement partners who conducted this investigation and recovered these deadly substances before they could harm members of our community,” U.S. Attorney Ison said.

“This amount of fentanyl has the potential to provide nearly two deadly doses to every man, woman and child living in the state of Michigan. We will continue to work with our partners to pursue anyone pushing poisons into our communities and bring them to justice,” said Special Agent in Charge Greene.

"This major seizure of fentanyl has saved lives. The great partnerships we have with law enforcement at the federal, state and local levels in southeast Michigan, enable us to make these types of investigations successful,” said Chief Goralski.

Willis has now been indicted for possession of over 400 grams of fentanyl with the intent to distribute it, possession of firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, and possession of firearms by a convicted felon. He faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years’ imprisonment if convicted of the charges in the indictment.

An indictment is only a formal charging document and is not evidence of guilt. A defendant is entitled to a fair trial in which it will be the government’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

This case was investigated by the Livonia Police Department, including officers assigned to the Livonia Police Intelligence Bureau, and the Drug Enforcement Administration. The Michigan State Police and the Clinton Township Police Department also assisted with the investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Erin Ramamurthy.

Updated April 11, 2024

Drug Trafficking