COLORADO SPRINGS — Arrest affidavits for two brothers arrested in a fentanyl and firearms bust reveal that the family kept thousands of fentanyl pills on hand at their family-owned liquor store and regularly sold them in the aisles in plain view of customers.
40-year-old Brian Yi and his 44-year-old brother Steve Yi were arrested Monday. Arrest affidavits for the two men reveal the scale of their operation, and how many members of their family either knew about their activity or were complicit in the sale of thousands of fentanyl pills and other drugs.
On July 11, detectives with the Armed Violent Offender Unit (AVOU) of the Colorado Springs Police Department (CSPD) and patrol officers executed a search warrant at Austin Bluffs Plaza Liquors. Approximately $36,100 was found, as well as 2,000 fentanyl pills, 2.36 pounds of cocaine, 1.55 pounds of THC gummies, 2.14 pounds of marijuana, 14.6 grams of Xanax pills, and 11.3 grams of oxycodone pills.
Law enforcement also recovered three handguns and an assault rifle.
According to the arrest affidavits, the investigation began in May when a confidential informant told a detective with CSPD that employees of the liquor store near N. Academy Boulevard and Montebello Drive were selling illegal narcotics and were armed with handguns.
Through an undercover operation at the end of May, law enforcement was able to obtain 100 pills from Steve Yi. The transaction took place in the center aisle of the liquor store, in full view of Chang Yi, the store owner and the father of Steve and Brian Yi, as well as any possible customers in the store.
Through a series of follow-up operations throughout June and into July, hundreds of pills were sold by Steve and Brian Yi, and the drugs were confirmed legitimate through field and lab testing. Arrangements were also made in an operation to purchase 1,000 pills from Steve Yi for the sum of $5,000.
Steve Yi was also recorded on body-worn audio devices explaining that at any given time, he had approximately 10,000 pills on hand.
Both Steve and Brian Yi were arrested on July 11 and face two felony drug charges and one felony conspiracy charge. Their first appearance in court is set for July 21.