Flagler County Sheriff Donald W Fleming informed Historic City News that he believes that heroin use may be “on the rise” in Flagler County following a statewide crack down on pills mills in Florida and three local arrests last week.
Members of the Narcotics Enforcement Team have arrested three people during the last two days in connection with possession and trafficking of heroin. More than $26,000 worth of heroin has been seized, Fleming said.
Recent legislation aimed at reducing the flow of prescription pain medication in the state has started to take effect with several pain clinics being shut down. The dispensing of these medications has also been limited.
In the first two months of 2011, narcotics detectives noticed very little heroin activity within the county. At that time, oxycodone pills, mostly Roxicodone 30 mg pills, were plentiful and detectives were purchasing pills on the street for prices ranging between $13 and $17 a pill. These medications were being funneled into the county — mostly from South, Central and North Florida.
However, during the past several months, detectives have noted that there has been a spike in the price for Roxicodone with detectives now paying $25 or more per pill.
During this same period, detectives have noticed an increase in the local distribution and consumption of heroin.
“Detectives have identified an organization that is a major distributor of heroin in the area,” Sheriff Fleming told reporters. “There will be more arrests in connection with this organized crime ring.”
Two Palm Coast men were arrested last week after detectives witnessed them purchase heroin on the parking lot of a local Palm Coast restaurant. The exchange took place around 4:30 p.m.
Jason Hanson, 28, of 7 Pine Grove Drive, and Dennis Chervyakov, 32, of 6 Pillar Lane, were charged with possession of heroin.
Monday morning, Edward McLaughlin, 29, of 1911 County Road 75, Bunnell, was arrested for trafficking in more than 14 grams of heroin. Deputies stopped him as he was southbound on I-95 near the 289 mile marker in Flagler County. Detectives, who had McLaughlin under surveillance said he was transporting the heroin from South Carolina to his Bunnell home.
“This one charge carries a minimum mandatory prison term of 15 years if convicted,” said Sheriff Fleming. “This man is a major player in the distribution ring.”