2011-03-27 / Front Page

Two arrested in heroin, crack cocaine bust

810-452-2616  pfoley@mihomepaper.com

METAMORA TWP. — The theft of an HP laptop computer and an iPad last month led to the arrest of two alleged Pontiac drug dealers Monday night in the parking lot of the Metamora Foodland.

The men, ages 25 and 32, said Det./Lt. Mark Opra, commander of the Thumb Narcotics Unit (TNU), were there to meet with a woman who had stolen the electronics from her father to trade for drugs.

The men thought they were meeting with the woman to sell her the equipment back along with some more drugs. Instead they met TNU officers and troopers from the Michigan State Police Post in Lapeer.

At press time the pair were being held in the

Lapeer County Jail on parole violation charges while TNU officers sought warrants charging the men with delivery of heroin and crack cocaine and possession of marijuana. TNU officers released a third man without charges.

Opra said the older man was out on parole for an earlier assault conviction and the younger was on parole for an earlier cocaine possession conviction. Generally, said Opra, parole conditions generally prohibit parolees from being in the presence of illegal drugs. He declined to release the suspect’s names saying his officers were still hoping to get the pair to reveal more about their contacts in Pontiac.

TNU officers, said Opra seized “just shy” of $2,000 from the pair, as well as less than three grams of heroin, five grams of crack cocaine and three grams of marijuana. He said that while the amount of drugs seized was “not huge” it was significant “because of all the heroin activity in Lapeer County.”

In October, 40th Circuit Court Judge Michael Higgins called heroin use in the county “an epidemic” after a 22- year-old Imlay City man with two small children was found dead of a heroin overdose, raising the county’s drug death toll to 10.

In December, when one Lapeer County mother organized a courthouse steps protest on what would have been her son’s birthday to draw attention to his drug-related death and the drug-related deaths of others in the county, County Prosecutor Byron Konschuh noted the number of heroinrelated deaths in the county had hit 14.

That was double the county’s death toll for traffic accidents for the year.

So far this year, said Susan Gronsky, administrative assistant and medical examiner secretary at the Lapeer County Health Dept, the department has recorded six drug deaths this year. At that pace the county could hit 24 before the year is out.

Gronsky noted that half of last year’s drug deaths in the county were “clearly heroin related.”

“It’s mind blowing,” she said.

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