In Louisiana and across the country, law enforcement agencies lead the fight against drugs. Heroin and methamphetamine addiction is said to have reached epidemic levels, and task forces are forming in small towns and parishes as well as large cities. When investigations spread over long periods of time and involve numerous agencies, suspects may find themselves accused of multiple crimes in addition to drug charges.
Recently, police announced that they had broken up one of the largest drug rings in the history of Tammany parish. Sixteen people were arrested, and four others were indicted but remain at large. The men and women, ranging in ages from 20 to 40, are charged with multiple counts of racketeering, distributing and conspiring to distribute methamphetamine and heroin. Several also face charges for drug possession and having firearms with a felony record.
One mid- to low-level distributor is accused of attempted murder for allegedly shooting another member of the distribution ring. After this incident, police also arrested two people as accessories after the fact. Reportedly, this was not the only act or threat of violence the members of this group perpetrated.
The district attorney says that 19 people have died so far this year from heroin overdoses. Just seven years ago, only three drug related deaths were reported. The FBI, the parish sheriff's department and numerous police agencies worked together for over a year investigating this organization hoping to put a dent in the supply of drugs coming into the area.
Meanwhile, those indicted with these very serious drug charges may be wondering about their futures. Any who have previous felony records may be especially concerned for what these new charges might mean. Despite the tragedy of the overdoses and addiction illnesses many in Louisiana may blame on those who manufacture and distribute drugs, the accused men and women still have rights that need to be protected. A dedicated criminal defense attorney will work for the best possible outcome for each client's situation.
Source: nola.com, "20 indicted in probe of St. Tammany heroin, meth distribution ring", Robert Rhoden, Oct. 16, 2016