WARREN, Mich. (WJBK) - A man considered to be the kingpin of a Detroit heroin drug trade is behind bars with 12 others. All are accused of distributing the drugs in our communities.
Warren police and the DEA teamed up to track down some of the most sought-after drug dealers in the area.
"This is a breaking landmark case," Mayor Jim Fouts said. "We raided 6 homes in Detroit, and we got into the investigation and we used our special investigation unit to go inside and be able to identify these individuals, including the top person."
The top person in this drug ring linked to seven Warren overdoses this year is believed to be Demarco Tempo, a 27-year-old. Officials said he would bring the drugs into Detroit and distribute to the suburbs.
"Basically Detroit was the supplier and suburban residents were the buyers," Fouts said.
Tempo and eight others are facing charges for the overdose of a 19-year-old Warren woman. Her heroin was laced with fentanyl.
The group could also face charges in connection to the deaths of four others.
In all, 13 men have been indicted by a grand jury for the drug trafficking operation.
"I think for everybody in the metro area, it means that there's likely to be less needless deaths, there's likely to be less major source of heroin and fentynal in the area, and that means with less addicts, there's likely to be less violent crime and there's likely to be less breaking and entering, and auto thefts," Fouts said.
In 2014, 249 Macomb County people lost their lives from drug overdoses; it was the highest loss of life due to drug overdoses in the county, ever. Of those 249, 97 were heroin overdoses, 50 others were opioids.
Heroin isn't just a Warren problem; overdose deaths have replaced car crashes at the number one cause of accidental death in the U.S.
"This is not just a problem in Wwarren, Ddetroit, or the metro area. This is a problem of the whole United States," Fouts said.
Mayor Fouts warns if you distribute deadly drugs, you will be held accountable.
"It sends the message that people who commit these kinds of terrible crimes, people who traffic fentanyl and heroin and cause deaths will be brought before the government," Fouts said.
Fouts added that he hopes this case sets a precedence to otehr agencies to rid communities of drug cartels like this one.