19 people detained, 5 wanted for heroin charges

A joint investigation involving authorities across the Piedmont Triad of North Carolina has resulted in the detainment of 19 people. The investigation was a response to an increase in overdoses and deaths related to heroin use. Officials say that at least 94 people have overdosed and 11 others have died from heroin use in High Point this year, and only 40 percent of these cases involved people who live in the city.

Law enforcement agencies across the region launched the undercover investigation in May, focusing on identifying and charging individuals involved in heroin distribution in High Point. Undercover investigators allegedly purchased heroin from the accused in several locations, and two of those purchases reportedly occurred near Fairview Elementary School.

Authorities say that they have seized 419 grams of heroin so far this year, which is estimated to be worth $83,000; only 50 grams were seized in 2013. The purchases led to 24 people being charged, but only 19 people had been detained by Sept. 5. The other five were still wanted on outstanding charges. The 24 people range in age from 19 to 52 and include both men and women. The severity of the charges that they face varies from person to person and range from possession with intent to deliver or sell heroin and trafficking heroin.

A criminal defense lawyer may argue for an individual’s drug charges to be dismissed if the rights of the defendant were violated or if authorities did not have probable cause to search or detained the defendant. Otherwise, the lawyer could negotiate a plea deal to seek to have the charges and penalties reduced.