The U.S. Attorney in Nashville has indicted 22 people who are accused of selling heroin mixed with synthetic opioids imported from China. Law enforcement blames drug dealers for contributing to numerous overdoses.
The heroin was being mixed with fentanyl, which is a prescription drug many times more potent than morphine. The combination gives an elevated high while also increasing the risk of shooting up. Over the course of three weeks this spring, the indictment says half a dozen users overdosed. Two of them died.
“Welcome to the H game,” one distributor allegedly said on a cell phone call, apparently tapped by law enforcement, after being informed that buyers were overdosing.
“Regardless of the fact that some of these defendants were aware that deaths were being caused by their narcotics distribution, these individuals were undeterred and even exhibited callous disregard,” U.S. Attorney David Rivera said at a press conference.
Four of the accused dealers are charged with distributing drugs that resulted in a death. If convicted, all 22 would spend at least 10 years in prison, up to life.