Personal trainer deals drugs at Highland Park gym, buys 4 guns off street, police say

Richard Franks facing 3 charges

Workout equipment at a gym. (Pexels, Copyright 2021 by WSLS 10 - All rights reserved.)

DETROIT – Police said a personal trainer was caught selling drugs at his gym in Highland Park and illegally owning four guns that he had bought off the street.

Case background

Detroit police said they received an anonymous tip Feb. 9 that Richard Edward-Anthony Franks was possessing firearms and selling methamphetamine and crack cocaine at his home on Whitmore Road in Detroit. Franks was also selling drugs at the Powerhouse Gym on Woodward Avenue in Highland Park, according to the tipster.

Franks, who is either 48 or 49 years old, has a 1992 conviction for carrying concealed weapons, and a 2002 conviction for second-degree homicide, authorities said.

Search warrants

Officers watched Franks at his home and the Powerhouse Gym during February and saw him participate in multiple hand-to-hand drug transactions at both locations, they said.

Police received a search warrant Feb. 16 to search Franks’ home on Whitmore Road.

Authorities said they saw Franks leave the location around 4:35 a.m. Feb. 17 and walk across the street to another apartment unit. He used a key to enter before his car left the underground parking area, court records show.

Officers searched Franks’ original apartment unit around 5 a.m. Feb. 17 and said they found about 85.1 grams of suspected crack cocaine, $2,873 in cash, assorted pistol and rifle ammo, firearm magazines, a black smartphone, and a scale with residue.

The items were scattered throughout kitchen cabinets, tables, drawers, nightstands, and beds, according to authorities.

Police spoke to the property manager for the apartment building across the street and learned that Franks was renting a unit and parking in the underground lot. The manager said Franks had changed the locks to his unit without management’s permission.

Officials received a search warrant Feb. 17 for the other unit and executed it immediately, they said. Inside, authorities said they found a 7.62-caliber Century Arms rifle, a 5.56-caliber Armalite pistol, a .40-caliber Ruger pistol, and a .45-caliber Colt pistol.

All four guns were in the master bedroom closet, court records say.

Officers also found about 126.5 grams of suspected cocaine in the master bedroom nightstand, they said.

Franks interview

Franks was interviewed Feb. 17 by a detective and said he is a certified personal trainer and assistant manager at the Powerhouse Gym in Highland Park, the criminal complaint says.

He said he served about 11.5 years in prison for previous convictions, officials said.

Franks admitted to “regularly selling illegal drugs in the evenings, after work,” the complaint says. “He also admitted that there were approximately 20 grams of illegal drugs in the cabinet above the stove.”

Officials said they had already recovered about 41.3 grams of suspected crack cocaine from that spot.

Franks also admitted to knowing about the ammo found at his home, according to authorities.

When officers asked Franks if he had a key to the apartment across the road from his home, he said, “Y’all got y’all answer and you already know what it is,” the criminal complaint reads.

He told police that he had purchased the guns off the street and was holding them for someone, officials said.

Charges

The complaint concludes that there’s probable cause to charge Franks with felon in possession of a firearm, using or carrying a dangerous weapon in a drug crime or crime of violence, and manufacturing, distributing, dispensing, or possessing a controlled substance.


About the Author:

Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.