Dozens of people were arrested in Northeast Ohio yesterday by federal and local police looking to bust a wide-ranging heroin ring. A lengthy federal indictment indicates that the local heroin trade is so prevalent and lucrative, that some drug dealers turned to robbing each other. ideastream's David C. Barnett has more.
Federal, county and city agents swept into houses in Cleveland and Euclid, yesterday morning, arresting 72 people as part of a drug bust, dubbed Operation Fox Hound.
At a news conference yesterday afternoon, U.S. Attorney Steven Dettelbach said it was the culmination of a two-year effort to squash a conspiracy involving the transport of heroin from Chicago and Atlanta to be sold in Northeast Ohio.
DETTELBACH: Today's law enforcement action marks the single largest heroin takedown in the history of Northern Ohio.
A 191-page federal indictment describes a cut-throat operation where some of the conspirators financed their operations by robbing other drug dealers --- and even each other. One suspect told an undercover officer that he had made more money knocking off other dealers than actually selling drugs.
At the news conference, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Tim McGinty noted that the highly profitable drug was also very deadly.
McGINTY: At the current rates, we'll have twice as many heroin deaths as gunshot deaths this year in Cuyahoga County.
And he said that half of those deaths were occuring in the suburbs of Greater Cleveland.
U.S. Attorney Steven Dettelbach added that the numbers were up in Summit, Stark and Lucas counties, as well.
DETTELBACH: People in all parts of our community need to take note of this --- parents, teachers --- heroin is your problem. It's all of our problem.
The work of Operation Fox Hound continues --- the FBI says that there are still 20 suspects in the drug ring that they have yet to arrest