FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – A Fort Wayne man who police caught holding a bag of fentanyl worth $35,000 pleaded guilty to drug and gun charges in federal court Tuesday.
The case against 30-year-old Vorheese D. Zanders had been winding through the court system since October 2017, when Fort Wayne Police arrested him in an alley outside his home with a baggie of fentanyl weighing 143 grams stuffed in his pocket.
He finally pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to one count of possessing with the intent to distribute 40 grams or more of fentanyl and possessing a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, according to court documents.
As part of a plea agreement, prosecutors will agree to drop other drug dealing and gun charges against Zanders and recommend a judge give him the minimum amount of years in prison allowed by federal guidelines at his sentencing.
According to court documents, the charges Zanders pleaded guilty to call for at least five years in prison on each count and a fine, or some combination of prison time and a fine as well as supervised release.
Police zeroed in on Zanders when an officer saw a Chevy Impala fail to signal a turn. By the time officers found the car, Zanders and another person were standing outside of it, according to court documents. Zanders began backing away from officers with his hands in his pockets, and that’s when they found the fentanyl.
Typically, someone will possess roughly 1 gram of fentanyl for personal use, an agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms wrote in court documents. That costs about $250. That agent estimated the street value of the baggie Zanders had at $35,000.
Several months later, federal agents searched Zanders’ home and found a baggie containing 27 grams of fentanyl as well as a handwritten ledger that contained prices and amounts as well as the word “girl” – which an ATF agent wrote in court documents is drug slang for cocaine.
They also found digital scales, pills of Opana, oxycodone and Alprazolam and a handgun, court documents said.
Zanders sentencing date has yet to be scheduled.