Jan. 25—GREILICKVILLE — A Leelanau County inmate was trying to manage a drug scheme while he was serving time in the jail — that's what authorities heard.
So the Traverse Narcotics Team followed the Jan. 18 tip from a state Department of Corrections parole officer — and one thing led to another.
Ultimately, it led them to jail inmate Jacob Overholt, 31, and the eventual seizure of 4.8 ounces of cocaine powder, Alprazolam pills, Oxycodone pills, 1,587 orange pills suspected to be a mixture of methamphetamine and fentanyl and nearly $3,000 in cash.
But, first, TNT set up surveillance of a house on Southwest Bayshore Drive in Elmwood Township.
As they were surveilling the house, they conducted a traffic stop of a pickup truck.
While they were searching the truck, officers found "multiple items related to drug use" and drugs, Michigan State Police Lt. Derrick Carroll said.
The truck's driver, Frederick Zimmerman, 43, from Interlochen, was arrested and arraigned on possession of cocaine charges and given a personal recognizance bond of $50,000.
As the traffic stop was happening, other TNT detectives and MDOC officers searched the Elmwood Township house, where Taylor Soper, 27, was living at the time.
During their search of the house, police said they found more drugs and cash.
Soper was taken into custody at the Leelanau County Jail and arraigned on Jan. 20 alongside Overholt on charges of possessing more than 50 grams of cocaine, possession with intent to deliver cocaine and maintaining a drug house. Their cash bonds were set at $100,000.
Carroll said additional charges are likely to be issued by the Leelanau County Prosecutor's Office once lab results on the pills confirm the substances they contain.
This bust is part of a larger effort by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to get fentanyl off the streets.
In 2022, the DEA reported seizing more than 379 million doses of fentanyl, with more than 19 million of that coming from Michigan and Ohio.
"Fentanyl in pill form is a deliberate attempt by drug cartels to make illicit drug use more appealing to Americans. We have seized fentanyl in just about every size, shape and color in both Michigan and Ohio," DEA Detroit Special Agent in Charge Orville Greene said.
The number of these pills being sold on the streets has grown rapidly in the past year, Greene said.
Many of these highly addictive pills — six out of every 10, according to tests the DEA has conducted — contain a potentially lethal amount of the drug fentanyl.