Man stopped hauling enough fentanyl to kill 2 million people gets 25 years in prison, feds say

Published 3:52 pm Wednesday, February 21, 2024

A man who was pulled over on a stretch of interstate in Alabama was sentenced to 25 years in prison after police found 4 kilograms of fentanyl, enough for 2 million lethal human does, in his U-Haul trailer.

According to court documents, Howard Labadie Grant, 54, of Snellville, Georgia, was arrested in March 2022 while trafficking bulk fentanyl and marijuana.

Specifically, on March 30, 2022, sheriff’s deputies stopped a pickup truck that Grant was driving with an attached U-Haul trailer for a traffic violation on Interstate 65 in north Baldwin County.

During the traffic stop, Grant gave inconsistent statements about his travel itinerary and admitted that he was on federal probation for a prior drug trafficking conviction. Grant then admitted to deputies that he was hauling drugs in the trailer, which he had obtained from sources in California.

Deputies searched the trailer and found four vacuum-sealed bundles containing more than four kilograms of fentanyl, as well as several boxes containing more than 70 pounds of vacuum sealed marijuana. The U.S. DEA estimates that a mere 2 milligrams of fentanyl can be a lethal dose for most adults, meaning 4 kilograms could potentially kill 2 million people.

Inside the cabin of the pickup truck, deputies found, among other things, documents from Grant’s two prior federal drug-trafficking convictions, paperwork that Grant had submitted to his probation officer requesting permission to travel from Georgia to California for purported business purposes, and handwritten drug ledgers.

Narcotics agents interviewed Grant, who admitted that he had made multiple trips to California to obtain marijuana and fentanyl beginning in the summer of 2021. Agents also searched Grant’s cell phones, which contained numerous text messages and other data detailing Grant’s numerous drug-trafficking trips.

In addition to the 25-year prison sentence, Chief United States District Judge Jeffrey U. Beaverstock ordered Grant to serve a 10-year term of supervised release upon his release from prison, during which time he will undergo drug testing and treatment.

The court did not impose a fine, but Chief Judge Beaverstock ordered Grant to pay $100 in special assessments.

U.S. Attorney Sean P. Costello of the Southern District of Alabama made the announcement.

The Drug Enforcement Administration and the Baldwin County Sheriff’s Office investigated the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Justin Roller prosecuted the case on behalf of the United States.