United States Attorney Announces Heroin Intervention Program With DEA And Louisville Metro Police Department
Priority is to investigate and prosecute heroin dealers who face a mandatory 20 year minimum sentence for causing overdoses
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – United States Attorney John E. Kuhn, Jr., joined by Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, Louisville Metro Police Chief Steve Conrad and Timothy J. Plancon, Special Agent in Charge, DEA Detroit Field Office, announced a new collaborative investigation and prosecution program to remove heroin dealers from the streets of Louisville.
“I have a message for heroin dealers,” stated United States Attorney John Kuhn. "You are killing people in this city from every walk of life. From this point forward, if you sell heroin that causes an overdose, we will bring federal charges against you that will get you a minimum of 20 years in prison with no parole. The trafficking in this deadly poison must end."
“Our city is grateful for the support from the DEA and the U.S. Attorney to help combat the heroin problem in Louisville. We are tackling this issue from many facets, and this new enforcement initiative adds another element to our strategy,” Mayor Greg Fischer said.
"LMPD has enjoyed a long-standing partnership with the DEA and we are thankful for continued efforts such as this which will greatly assist us in combatting one of the major contributors of our violent crime,” stated Chief Steve Conrad.
The DEA and LMPD, in coordination with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, recently formulated a strategy in response to the current heroin epidemic. These meetings resulted in the creation of the Heroin Investigation Team (HIT) which will investigate overdoses with the aim of developing federal cases charging heroin distribution causing death or serious injury. These charges will be punished by a mandatory 20-year sentence. The HIT consists of Special Agents of the DEA and LMPD Major Case Narcotics Unit Detectives.
The program is supported initially with federal funding for overtime for six law enforcement officers from LMPD who will work on HIT. Each of the six law enforcement officers will be deputized by DEA as a federal Task Force Officer (TFO).
Through the first six months of 2016, first responder personnel including Louisville Emergency Medical Service, the Louisville Metro Fire Department, and the Louisville Metro Police Department responded to 3,421 reported overdoses (compared to 2,072 reported overdoses from the same period in 2015). In addition, first responder personnel had administered the opioid antagonist naloxone (Narcan) 1,148 times (compared to 354 naloxone administrations during the same time period in 2015). During the first two quarters of 2016, there were 183 total overdose deaths in Jefferson County. (63 heroin, 99 Fentanyl and 32 both drugs present).
“Louisville is being ravaged by the heroin and opioid epidemic. The crisis is fueling both a public safety and a public health crisis. As we broaden our public education efforts to stem the tide of new addicts, we will also intensify our law enforcement efforts to attack the supply of heroin. My office will work in partnership with LMPD and the DEA to investigate overdose scenes, utilize all available technology and resources to make arrests, and then incarcerate those who profit from this deadly poison,” concluded U.S. Attorney Kuhn.
Today’s announcement comes during the President’s Prescription Opioid and Heroin Epidemic Awareness Week. According to Attorney General Loretta Lynch, the purpose of Heroin and Opioid Awareness Week, is aimed at drawing attention to the urgency of heroin and prescription opioid abuse while improving the public’s understanding of how destructive this epidemic is across America. For more information: https://www.justice.gov/opioidawareness/