MINOT — Federal prosecutors have taken over the case of a of Lincoln Park, Mich., man accused of drug trafficking after police said they found him with thousands of fentanyl pills last year.
The U.S. Attorney's Office in North Dakota unsealed on Tuesday, Feb. 17, an indictment against Larry Owens III, who faces two federal counts of possessing fentanyl with intent to deliver.
Owens was arrested June 10 by Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara (MHA) Drug Enforcement officers with hundreds of pills, according to a news release issued Wednesday. He was in a taxi from New Town to Minot, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
After posting bond, he was arrested again Sept. 15 at a Minot apartment, where the Ward County Narcotics Task Force found more than 5,000 fentanyl pills, authorities alleged.
The later drug bust was worth about $400,000 on the street, U.S. Attorney Drew Wrigley said. It was considered at the time the largest seizure of fentanyl pills in Minot.
Owens was charged in Ward County District Court with conspiracy to possess with intent to deliver, but that case was dismissed as federal prosecutors prepared to take over the case.
MHA is also known as the Three Affiliated Tribes, which governs the Fort Berthold Reservation southwest of Minot.
Local authorities warned drug trafficking activity is on the rise in North Dakota, especially when it comes to dealing fentanyl pills. It caused an increase in overdoses and deaths in the last two years.
Last week, Wrigley announced federal charges in a similar case out of Bismarck. Barry Christopher Brown Jr., 28, of Taylor, Mich., was indicted Feb. 11 on conspiracy to distribute drugs and possession with intent to distribute after agents found more than 2,000 fentanyl pills last month in his Bismarck hotel room. Court documents do not link the two cases.
Wrigley said his office remains “in hot pursuit of others,” referring to “poison-pushers who grievously damage our communities.”