RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — A North Carolina drug dealer who traded fentanyl in exchange for stolen tires he would then sell at his auto repair shop will spend 15 years in prison for trafficking drugs, federal prosecutors say.

The U.S. Department of Justice said Thursday that Michael Lamar Hill of Havelock was sentenced to 180 months in prison for after pleading guilty in March.

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A search of Hill’s business in 2019 turned up 161 grams of fentanyl — enough to kill 80,500 people, based on the DEA’s assessment that 2 milligrams is considered potentially a lethal dose — and 267 grams of cocaine, authorities said.

According to evidence prosecutors presented in court, Hill began trafficking fentanyl and heroin quickly after his release from prison in April 2017, and also opened the Havelock Super Tire Store, using drug proceeds as the seed money to fund the business.

Prosecutors said he used fentanyl to build his tire inventory, offering a gram of the drug for each pair of new tires — which his drug customers would steal from other local businesses.
He also used the business to store and distribute fentanyl, heroin, and cocaine, assigning an employee to help distribute the drugs, prosecutors said.

Havelock Police conducted “numerous” controlled purchases of fentanyl from Hill and his employee in 2018 and 2019, before executing a search warrant of the store in July 2019 that turned up the drugs along with $10,000 cash, a Rolex watch and vehicle titles worth more than $85,000 in his car.