Heroin bust could lead to more arrests - Tucson News Now

Heroin bust could lead to more arrests

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Hundreds of pounds of high grade heroin have passed through Tucson for distribution, and police say they could have been stashed in any neighborhood.

Operation Smack Talk not only cracked a Mexican heroin organization, it showed how popular the drug has grown.

Tucson Police say and national studies show that heroin use has grown, and in some cases doubled since 2002.  More restrictions on prescription drugs have cut their abuse, and have driven addicts to heroin.  The demand has the drug trade infiltrating all kinds of areas of southern Arizona.

Summer afternoons at swimming lessons keep kids and parents focused on everyday life away from the things that threaten it.

"It makes you get itchy a lot," said seven year-old Mario Rogers when he was asked what he knew about drugs.  He had just wrapped up another swimming lesson at the Himmel Pool in midtown.

"I don't worry about heroin in the neighborhood, but now that you said it, maybe I will worry about it," said his mother Silvia Rogers when she was informed about the recent success of Operation Smack Talk.

Tucson Police won't say where they, DEA, Homeland Security Investigations, and Marana Police found a suspected stash house for high-grade heroin. The 11-month investigation seized over 123 pounds worth $7.5 million.  An 89 pound seizure, one of the largest in the state, was included.  Tucson Police Assistant chief Brett Klein said that stash houses can be in any neighborhood.

"I think that there is a significant amount of heroin that is being trafficked right now.  We are certainly seeing a lot more of it. This is clearly evidence of that. I think (Operation Smack Talk) puts a dent in things," Klein said.

DEA said in a press release that Operation Smack Talk focused on a Mexican heroin ring that brings the drug across the border to Tucson in cars with secret compartments, and then sends it to West Coast cities. Klein said that the heroin was also dealt in Tucson.  He said that homes with a lot of traffic at strange hours could be suspect of that activity, while homes with little activity other than quick, brief visits could be stash houses.

"Give us a call and let us look into it. Let us do the job that we are paid to do and go out there and investigate that, and it may turn out be nothing, and it may turn out to the that they just turned us onto a stash house," Klein said.

Simply reporting and not getting involved is recommended to people so that they can stay safe and keep life as normal as possible.

"Our neighbors, everybody goes to work, comes home, and we're lucky, we're very lucky," Silvia Rogers said.

Seven people have been arrested so far.  Their names have not been released nor has the address or location of the suspected stash house because the investigation continues and more arrests are expected.

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