DEA Expands Opioid Initiative To Pinal County
Federal agents will investigate overdoses in pursuit of criminal charges
PHOENIX - DEA announced today the expansion of the its Heroin Enforcement Action (HEAT) initiative to Pinal County as part of a collaborative effort by the DEA Phoenix Field Division and the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office to address the opioid epidemic. Nearly 500 people in Arizona have lost their lives from a suspected opioid overdose in the last four months. In order to fight this problem from all fronts, the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office is partnering with the DEA’s HEAT.
HEAT is an enforcement initiative developed by DEA’s Phoenix Field Division to tackle the evolving opioid epidemic at every level. In conjunction with the development of investigations targeting the highest-level heroin traffickers, the HEAT mission includes the pursuit of local drug traffickers directly responsible for overdose deaths. The DEA HEAT is examining all available reporting surrounding these deaths to pursue any investigative leads and tougher criminal charges.
“Every day, too many Arizonans are dying from opioid overdoses. The DEA will target those traffickers who inflict harm in our communities and relentlessly pursue those responsible for selling the drugs which cause the deaths of our loved ones.” said Doug Coleman, Special Agent in Charge of DEA in Arizona. “The DEA is proud to partner with the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office to expand our HEAT initiative and help bring to justice those who would harm the citizens of Pinal County.”
The program was launched in 2016 and has been a success. In DEA’s partnership with local jurisdictions has helped successfully indict several defendants both federally, and at the local level.
“You cannot just go after these criminals with drug charges. They are killing people in our community. I want to send a message to those preying on our citizens that we will no longer settle for drug charges. We want them to know their next deal could land them behind bars for the rest of their lives.” said Sheriff Mark Lamb.
Citizens can click on the following link to submit a tip anonymously to the DEA, https://www.dea.gov/submit-tip or via the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office Application available to any smart phone.