ROMULUS, Mich. – Police said they have linked a Romulus man to a baggie of fentanyl that was shipped in a box of cat litter and ammunition found inside an SUV that crashed into a pole.
Drugs found in box of cat litter
On Aug. 19, a United States postal inspector intercepted a large priority express box addressed to someone named “Jacob Dupree” on Warhman Street in Romulus, according to a criminal complaint filed this month.
The return address on the box was to a person in Phoenix, Arizona. That person had no readily identifiable association with the listed address, officials said.
The box had been sent Aug. 18, weighed about 5 pounds, and cost $72.85 in postage and fees, court records show.
A database used by the Postal Inspection Service found that “Jacob Dupree” had no obvious association with the destination address, according to authorities.
A K-9 gave a positive alert while sniffing the package, so officials opened it, they said. Inside they found one bag of taped cat litter and a plastic bag of blue pills with “M” and “30″ imprinted on them, the criminal complaint says.
“I know in my training and experience that many narcotics traffickers create and sell fentanyl pills disguised as fake prescription pills,” the postal inspector said in the complaint.
Forensics experts reported the pills contained fentanyl, 4-ANPP, acetaminophen, lidocaine, and xylazine, with a net weight of 106.27 grams.
The person who identified himself as “Jacob Dupree” contacted USPS over chat to ask about the status of the delivery, officials said. He said he was the intended recipient and that the box contained premium cat litter, according to authorities.
IP addresses that had been used to track the box online were registered to someone at the home on Wahrman Street in Romulus, court records show. The subscriber for the phone number used during the chat was identified as Dazzman Dupree, the criminal complaint says.
Garden City crash
Officials said Dupree was involved in a shooting and crash on Oct. 21 in the area of Middlebelt Road and Marquette Street in Garden City.
Police were called to the area on reports of a shooting. When they arrived, they said they found a heavily damaged silver Buick LeSabre with three bullet holes on the driver’s side.
A silver Ford Escape with no license plate had crashed into a utility pole at the scene, according to authorities. It had a bullet hole in the rear passenger side window, and a shell casing was found on the floorboard, police said.
Officers said they found a .556 extended rifle magazine under the front passenger seat. They also found a box of .40-caliber ammunition and clear baggies of blue pills marked with “M” and “30,” the criminal complaint says.
A digital scale and $770 in cash were found in the center console, officials said.
A witness showed police cellphone pictures and provided descriptions of two men involved, according to authorities. A different witness said one of the people involved had jumped into a gray Ford Focus after the crash, police said.
Officers caught up with the Focus at a nearby gas station and found Dupree sitting in the back seat, they said. When everyone was ordered out of the car, Dupree refused to show his hands and started to reach to the back of his seat, the criminal complaint says.
Dupree was pulled from the car, officials said.
The driver of the Focus said Dupree had called him and asked for a ride after a crash. He said Dupree put “something” in the trunk of the Focus, according to court records.
When police searched the trunk, they found a black Smith & Wesson MP9 Shield handgun with a round in the chamber, they said. The gun had been reported stolen out of Washtenaw County in January 2020, records showed.
A large baggie of blue pills marked with “M” and “30″ was found in the back seat, where Dupree had been sitting, officers said.
Bag found outside home
A woman called police two days after the crash and said she had found a multicolored backpack on the side of her house, according to the criminal complaint.
Inside the bag, police found a tan 9 mm handgun with a round in the chamber, two baggies of marijuana, and a sandwich baggie holding 94 round, yellow pills imprinted with “T-189″ -- commercially sold as 30 mg oxycodone/hydrochloride, authorities said.
The handgun was registered to another Dupree at the same address on Wharman Street in Romulus, police said.
Officers said Dupree denied knowing about the pills and handgun found in the Focus, but admitted to owning the items found in the Escape.
When they reviewed cellphones taken from Dupree at the scene of the crash, they found messages “consistent with narcotics trafficking,” according to the postal inspector.
“Yo this stax people. You got the blues?” one person messaged him on Oct. 19, court records show.
“Yea, How many you ne(e)d,” Dupree responded, according to the complaint.
The cellphones contained images of firearms and drugs that had been packaged for distribution, authorities said. Those screenshots had either been sent to customers or posted on social media, police said.
Police said they also found a photo of Dupree (on the left below) and another person posing with firearms. Dupree appears to be holding the same tan handgun taken by Garden City police on Oct. 21, according to authorities.
The criminal complaint concludes there’s enough probable cause to charge Dupree with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance, possessing firearms in furtherance of drug trafficking, and mailing injurious articles.
It also requests a complaint and arrest warrant from the court.