Warren crackdown nets dozens of arrests, $2M in cash, drugs, guns

Mike Martindale
The Detroit News

Warren — City officials announced details Monday of a crackdown on drugs that has resulted in dozens of arrests and seizures of nearly $2 million in cash, narcotics and firearms in several cities.

Warren Police Commissioner William Dwyer, Mayor James Fouts and others met at the Warren Police headquarters Monday to discuss the success of the Police Enforcement and Community Engagement  operation. The PEACE effort was the seventh special investigation operations directed by Warren police since May 2019, resulting in more than 400 arrests.

“These are very difficult, very dangerous operations, and we have done them with no officers or suspects being injured,” Dwyer said. “Each of these has made Warren’s streets and neighborhoods safer for everyone. That’s something to be proud of.” 

Accompanied by Mayor James Fouts, left, Warren Police Commissioner William Dwyer discusses arrests and seizures of cash, drugs and firearms during a recent crackdown at a news conference Monday.

The PEACE initiative was prompted by intelligence gathered during a two-week investigation and arrest of a serial armed robbery who victimized businesses in and outside Warren.

“These are very difficult times, especially for law enforcement, with COVID-19 and the changing attitudes of some in the public towards policing,” said Dwyer. “I am proud of the outstanding performance of the men and women of the Department.”

Dwyer said a two-week long intensive investigation and eventual arrest of a serial armed robber produced information and tips from sources including Neighborhood Watch programs, about drug overdoses, illegal drug sale and prostitutes. During the five-day task force operation May 3-7 officers made arrests on felony warrants in Warren, including criminal sexual conduct, firearms, assault with a deadly weapon, retail fraud, drug possession and disinterment and mutilation of a dead body.

More than 30 suspects, aged 16 to 64 years old, were arrested on various charges. Those arrested — 27 men and 12 women — face 67 felony and 22 misdemeanor offenses. Eighteen search warrants were executed by the task force, resulting in cash seizures of $79,341 locally and a $1.7 million in a multi-state joint effort involving federal agents.

A whiteboard detailing the results of Operation P.E.A.C.E. is pictured at Warren Police Department in Warren, Mich. on May 10, 2021. Operation P.E.A.C.E., which stands for Police Enforcement and Community Engagement, addresses drug overdoses, illegal drug sales, prostitution and more.

Eleven vehicles were also seized, Dwyer said, and officers took a significant amount of heroin and cocaine off the street, including six ounces of fentanyl, linked to 24 Metro Detroit overdoses, including three deaths in Warren.

Those arrested lived in Warren, Center Line, Detroit, Eastpointe,  Hazel Park, St. Clair Shores and Sterling Heights, he said. Charges vary from delivery of fentanyl and heroin, which carries 20 years in prison; disinterment and mutilation of a dead body, punishable by 10 years imprisonment; armed robbery, 15 years to life; criminal sexual conduct, 15 years to life; carrying a concealed weapon, punishable by four years in prison; possession of heroin, cocaine and fentanyl, a four-year felony; possession of a stolen motor vehicle, a five-year felony; operating a house of prostitution, punishable by four years in prison,

 Dwyer said in one instance, task force members from the Special Investigations Division, acting on a neighborhood complaint, identified a suspect selling cocaine, arranged hand-to-hand buys and continued surveillance before executing a search warrant at a home in the Eight Mile-Van Dyke area where they made two arrests; seized two ounces of cocaine; one firearm; $70,000 cash; and assorted jewelry, collector coins and a money counter.

Another investigation of a home in the Nine Mile-Hoover area, where neighbors had complained of an unusual amount of traffic, led to arrests of two women operating a house of prostitution, and seizures of crack cocaine, synthetic narcotics and drug paraphernalia.

Undercover special Investigations Division officers also made three hand-to-hand fentanyl buys inside the Warren Manor Apartments and made one arrest while recovering an additional 50 grams of fentanyl.

On April 26, a deceased man was found in a dentist’s parking lot in Warren, Dwyer said. A 64-year-old Centerline man and his 32-year-old son were arrested during a search of the home and facing a crime of moving the dead body, which carries 10 years in prison. Dwyer said the incident involved a drug overdose "and the father and son panicked and dumped the body.”

A suspect involved in a fatal fentanyl overdose was arrested and subsequently charged with cocaine possession.

In late April, the Special Investigations Division assisted officers of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration from Ohio and Michigan in an investigation of a dual-state trafficker who obtained bulk marijuana in Michigan for distribution in Ohio.  A search warrant execution in Warren revealed additional supply sources in two other Michigan cities, Dwyer said, and resulted in one arrest, the seizure of 283 pounds of marijuana, 10 firearms and $1.7 million in cash.

While praising every officer and special detail involved in the cases, Dwyer singled out Lt. Matthew Dillenback and sergeants Steve Showers and Scott Isaacson for special recognition.

Other Warren crackdowns

The city also has carried out these special task force investigations over the past two years:

♦ Between August and September 2020, Operation SNAG, which resulted in 129 arrests for 252 felonies and other crimes, confiscation of 75 guns and seizures of $107,000 in cash,heroin, fentanyl, and meth.

♦ January 2020: Operation Crucial Capture, which tracked down 50 fugitives and career criminals, and helped close out 50 violent cases.

♦ December 2019: Operation Crusade 2, which resulted in 46 arrests for human trafficking.

♦ September 2019: Operation Traffic Jam, which led to eight arrests involving a major drug organization supplying drugs to Warren and Metro Detroit.

♦ May 2019: The first Operation Crusade, which made 35 arrests involved in human trafficking.


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