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La Crosse Police express frustration with the justice system after seizing record levels of Fentanyl

Kaitlyn Riley

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La Crosse Police arrested five people for drug-related activity in September.

One of the two investigations concluded with the confiscation of 140 grams of Fentanyl, which is the largest amount in the police department’s history. The department said the discovery is significant because of the danger Fentanyl poses.

Fentanyl contributes to many of the drug overdoses in La Crosse, according to police. In the last week alone, police responded to seven overdoses. Of those seven, five died.

“This is a perfect example of individuals who have no fear or respect for the La Crosse County Court system,” Assistant Chief Rob Abraham said. “The revolving door of La Crosse County justice sends them right back into our communities to deal their deadly drugs. How many people have to die before the La Crosse County Courts send a clear message to drug dealers that if you deal dangerous things in La Crosse County, you will go to prison?”

In the first incident, La Crosse Police Drug Investigators obtained information that Frederick B. Moore of Chicago was selling large quantities of Fentanyl in the La Crosse area.  Initial information indicated Moore was from Chicago and only in town for short periods to sell Fentanyl in the La Crosse Area.  Investigators learned Moore would frequent La Crosse for a few days and then drive back to Chicago after he ran out of drugs.

La Crosse Police and Town of Campbell Investigators conducted a confidential purchase of Fentanyl from Moore while he was in La Crosse Sept. 1.  Investigators then obtained a search warrant for multiple hotel rooms at Motel 6 on the north side of La Crosse where Moore was staying, as well as the rental vehicle he was driving. 

Upon executing this search warrant, Moore was arrested without incident and taken to the La Crosse County jail.  Investigators also seized over $4,000. That total included money used for the confidential police purchase. Moore is currently on parole in Illinois for being a felon in possession of a firearm. 

In the second investigation, La Crosse Police Drug Investigators learned Lavon Liggins was selling Fentanyl in the La Crosse area.  Liggins is familiar to La Crosse Investigators due to a 2019 arrest for selling Heroin/Fentanyl. He is currently on bond for that charge. La Crosse Police Investigators again worked with the Town of Campbell Police and made two confidential purchases of Fentanyl from Liggins.

Based on these drug transactions, the La Crosse Police Department, along with the Town of Campbell Police Department and the La Crosse County Sheriff’s Emergency Response Team, executed a search warrant at 1711 La Crescent Street #110 on Sept. 2 at 7:57 pm.

Britney M. Basley, Anthony M. Owens, and Shana M. Huntington were taken into custody without incident.  Also present inside the apartment was a newborn baby which was placed with La Crosse County Child Protective Services.  Prior to executing the search warrant, Liggins was arrested as part of a traffic stop by the La Crosse Police Department.

Upon searching the apartment, the following items were seized:

  • 111.5 grams of Fentanyl
  • 5.4 grams of Ecstasy
  • Scale
  • Baggies
  • THC
  • $20,010
  • 2011 BMW 525 Sedan
  • 2009 Dodge Challenger
  • 2011 BMW X5 SUV
  • 2009 Jeep Grand Cherokee

Of the money seized, $2,000 of it was police-recorded money used in the confidential purchases.  In total,142.2 grams of Fentanyl was seized with an estimated street value of $28,000.00 if sold in single-use increments.

Below is the information for the arrests associated with these cases:

Frederick B. Moore, 37, Chicago

Charges: Delivery Schedule I or II Narcotic Drugs (Fentanyl)

Lavon D. Liggins, 39, La Crosse

Charges: Delivery of Schedule I or II Narcotics, Delivery of Schedule I or II Narcotics, Party to Crime, Possession with Intent to Delivery Schedule I or II Narcotics, Party to Crime, Possession of Ecstasy, Party to Crime, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Maintain Drug Trafficking Place, Felony Bail Jumping (five counts), Misdemeanor Bail Jumping (two counts), Operating While Revoked (OWI Related)

Anthony M. Owens, 42, La Crosse

Charges: Party to Crime, Possession with Intent to Delivery Schedule I or II Narcotics, Party to Crime, Possession of Ecstacy, Party to Crime, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Maintain Drug Trafficking Place

Brittany M. Basley, 29, La Crosse

Charges: Party to Crime, Possession with Intent to Deliver Schedule I or II Narcotics, Party to Crime, Possession of Ecstasy, Party to Crime, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Maintain Drug Trafficking Place, Felony Bail Jumping (three counts)

Shana M. Huntington, 30, La Crosse

Charges: Party to Crime, Possession with Intent to Delivery Schedule I or II Narcotics (111.5 grams found on search warrant), Party to Crime, Possession of Ecstasy, Party to Crime, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Maintain Drug Trafficking Place

Kaitlyn Riley’s passion for communications started on her family’s dairy farm in Gays Mills, Wis. Wanting to share agriculture’s story, she studied strategic communications and broadcast journalism at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In college, she held officer positions with the Association of Women in Agriculture and Badger Dairy Club while volunteering as a news reporter for the college radio station. She also founded the university’s first agricultural radio talk show, AgChat. In her professional career, Kaitlyn has worked in radio, print and television news doing everything from covering local events to interviewing presidential candidates, and putting back on her barn boots to chat with farmers in the field. Today, Kaitlyn can be seen covering local stories that matter to you in the La Crosse area.