September 27, 2011
Contact: SA John Leonard
Phone Number: (314) 538-4600
Heroin Epidemic Leads To Largest St. Louis-Area DEA Operation Against Deadly Drug
ST. LOUIS, MO - The Drug Enforcement Administration, in collaboration with 32 other Law Enforcement Agencies, conducted an aggressive and unprecedented heroin enforcement operation resulting in the arrest of 53 individuals. DEA Special Agent in Charge Harry S. Sommers of the St. Louis Field Division announced the arrests, which mark the first phase of the bi-state partnership between law enforcement agencies targeting not just street level heroin dealers but also those responsible for trafficking heroin in and around St. Louis.
Since July, DEA and their law enforcement counterparts have coordinated efforts, which included 165 undercover purchases of heroin, in order to respond to the increase in heroin-related overdoses and deaths, as well as the overwhelming increase of heroin use in suburban and rural areas. Within the city of St. Louis, alone, there have been 57 heroin related deaths since the beginning of this year. It is the largest single strike against heroin in St. Louis law enforcement history.
The widespread arrests ranging from southern Illinois to Franklin and Lincoln County, MO, was a deliberate act intended to send a clear message to heroin violators. DEA and their law enforcement partners will not tolerate heroin use, abuse and trafficking. SAC Sommers stated: “Even after today, we will continue to target with vigor those using and bringing heroin into our communities. We are working to save lives and keep communities safe.”
Of the 53 arrests, 49 will be referred for State prosecution and charges include Violation of the Missouri Controlled Substance (VMCSA) possession, possession with intent to distribute. (4) of the arrests will be referred for Federal Prosecution and charges include conspiracy to distribute and possession with intent to distribute.
Other Agencies: St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, St. Louis County Police Department, Granite (IL) Police Department, St. Clair (IL) Sheriff’s (Drug Tactical Unit), Illinois State (MEGSI), (MO) Police Department, St. Charles County Regional Drug Task Force, Franklin County Sheriff’s Department, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department, Lincoln County Sheriff’s (Narcotics Enforcement Team), the US Marshals Service, Overland Police Department, St. Ann Police Department, O’(MO) Police Department, St. Charles County Sheriff’s Department, St. Charles City Police Department, Maryland Heights Police Department, St Louis Airport Police, St Peters Police Department, Chesterfield Police Department, Florissant Police Department, Bridgeton Police Department, Kirkwood Police Department, St. John Police Department, Brentwood Police Department, Richmond Heights Police Department, Clayton Police Department, Cahokia Police Department, Collinsville Police Department, Fairview Heights Police Department, Park (MO) Police Department and the Festus Police Department.