Turns out that Virginia Beach's Big Daddy's: A Touch of the South was serving more than just soul food! After keeping a close eye on him for almost ten years, federal agents arrested Fred Wills, Jr., aka "Big Daddy," the restaurant's chef/owner on Friday, charging him with running a $9 million drug ring involving cocaine and marijuana spanning four states.
The 26-page federal indictment (pdf) lists a series of ever-escalating drug deals dating back to 2002. The DEA alleges that Wills, his wife, and a co-conpirator sold over 240 pounds of cocaine and laundered money through the various restaurants Fred Wills has owned over the past eight years under the "Big Daddy" name. At one point they even "distributed one kilogram of cocaine in a Styrofoam take-out food container" for $23,000.
Wills, however, was also known for his charitable activities: He would "open his restaurants to the homeless at Thanksgiving, feeding hundreds of people for free." In an interview with the local news station Fox43, he admitted that he had been homeless in the past.
Wills also revealed that he was no stranger to crime: before running restaurants, he served "close to 16 years" in jail for armed robbery. After getting released, he got a job washing dishes and worked his way up, all the way to philanthropic kingpin.
In the meantime, WAVY-TV reports that "federal prosecutors are asking that if he is convicted, Wills be forced to forfeit more than $9 million worth of property and assets allegedly bought with drug money."
Video: News Report: Big Daddy's chef, owner indicted
Video: Interview With Fred Phillip Wills Jr. and His Wife
· Big Daddy's chef, owner indicted [WAVY]
· Big Daddy's - Chef Interview [Fox43]
· Big Daddy's: A Touch of the South [Official site]
· All Chef Crime Coverage on Eater [-E-]
· All Crime Coverage on Eater [-E-]