Lots of Heroin Arrests Will Be Happening Here in Texas As Feds, Locals Target Growing Heroin Market
A couple of weeks ago, the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was visiting the regional FBI office in Boston and while he was there, he held a little press conference. And what was a big topic on the mind of the Top Man at the FBI? Well, in what isn’t a big surprise to criminal defense lawyers around the country, FBI Director James Comey talked about heroin. Not organized crime in the town of Whitey Bulger. Not money laundering or fraud. Heroin.
FBI Director Comey called heroin a big problem all across the United States. He pointed to a new trend where heroin is combined with things like Fentanyl or other painkillers for sale.
Heroin mixed with these other painkilling drugs is believed to be the root of what Comey called an “explosion of overdose deaths.”
So, up in Boston there are federal task forces engaged in investigating and arresting people who are involved in the manufacture, distribution, or sale of heroin and these new heroin combos. These task forces include FBI and DEA agents as well as members of state and local law enforcement. All working together to fight the “heroin problem.”
So, how big is this heroin problem?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in a report released a few weeks ago, the number of people dying from heroin overdoses has doubled in the past 24 months. According to the CDC, people are turning to heroin after they cannot get prescription pain killers any longer. Seems that heroin isn’t just easier to get than prescription painkillers (like Oxycodone) but it’s cheaper, too.
The CDC reports that heroin use has skyrocketed from 2009 to 2012 — up 74% across the country. Different regions reported an bigger heroin impact: the Northeast showed a 211% increase in heroin deaths in the same three year period. In the South, heroin overdose deaths were up 181% during this time according to the CDC findings.
From the CDC’s perspective, heroin is a “public health problem” to be addressed. One of its solutions? Handing out naloxone, a drug that can quickly block a heroin overdose.
Heroin in Houston
Well, so what about Texas? Dallas criminal defense lawyers are well aware of heroin growing in popularity here.
And down in Harris County, news reports are that the feds are busy investigating trade routes established between Mexico and Houston where it’s said there’s a 500% jump in the amount of heroin that’s been seized in the Houston area in just the past year. More is coming into their area and prices are dropping: bigger supply and cheaper prices means a growing marketplace.
How much are we talking about here? Specifically, there was enough heroin taken by law enforcement in the Texas Gulf Coast area covering Houston to the Mexico border that it would provide 3,000,000 doses.
Heroin in Dallas
As prosecutors target pill mills and the black market for prescription drugs is threatened, both the drug dealers and those in the heroin business are looking to the growing demand for heroin as an easy alternative and substitute good for things like Oxycodone, Hydrocodone, and other prescription painkillers.
Here in Dallas, the local police department has set up a specific squad focused on investigating and arresting those involved in the heroin business here. There are 11 Dallas police officers who work full-time to monitor heroin traffic moving through the local airports, bus stations, and train lines. Dallas is seen not only as a solid heroin market in and of itself, but as a distribution point for heroin to be moved north into the Midwest and up into Chicago.
So, as heroin continues to build as a lucrative business for drug manufacturers, drug distributors, and drug dealers, and as heroin loses its past social stigma and becomes an accepted high when prescription pills aren’t available (or cost lots more), then Dallas needs to expect a lot of federal, state, and local arrests based upon violation of federal and state heroin laws.
It’s happening. Experienced Texas criminal defense lawyers are ready for these cases to be brought — the agents and the officers are out there, and their target is heroin. Anyone involved in the heroin trade or who chooses to use heroin is especially vulnerable to arrest now and in the future.
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