43ºF

3 men arrested after 86 pounds of heroin found during raid in Novi

Officials find 'mountain of heroin' after kicking in door

NOVI, Mich. – The Oakland County Drug Task Force and the Drug Enforcement Administration believe they stopped a major heroin supply pipeline Monday when they seized 86 pounds of heroin in Novi.

The raid took place Monday morning at the Brownstones Apartments at 42284 Joyce Street near 13 Mile Road. Officers said they broke down the door and discovered three men and what they called "a mountain of heroin."

Andre Kee Scott, 26; Adolfo Verdugo Lopez, 51; and Manuel Arnulfo Baraja, 22; were arrested.

Drug officers said court documents that they found and confiscated 11 kilograms of heroin on the kitchen table. The three men were allegedly cutting it there.

Officials found 11 more kilograms of heroin in a bedroom closet, and close to 2 more kilograms in a rented car, for a total of just under 40 kilograms -- or 86 pounds -- of heroin.

For a sense of the scale of the drug bust, DEA Assistant Agent in Charge David Grant showed Local 4 what a gram of coffee sweetener, a powder that has an appearance similar to heroin, looks like. You can watch in the video posted above.

"A tenth of this would primarily go for $15 or $20 on the street for a dosage unit of heroin," Grant said.

When officers got into the apartment, they refused to field test the heroin, instead relying on a K-9 unit and lab tests. They feared touching the drugs being used to cut the heroin, such as fentynal or carfentynal, which could make them sick.

"It could be lethal," Grant said. "That's why we want to get the message out, because of the lethality of these substances out there. We've got pills being pressed with fentynal as well to make them look like oxycodone tablets."

Grant said the vast majority of people using heroin start out on prescription drugs such as oxycodone, and then turn to heroin as a less expensive but more deadly option.

One of the men arrested was arraigned before a judge on Tuesday. The other two are scheduled to appear in court on Thursday.


About the Authors: