Cherokee Multi Agency Narcotics Squad agents arrested Richard Edwards, 31, of Woodstock, for two counts of sale of heroin, one count each of trafficking heroin, possession of marijuana and possession of cocaine.
Brandon Ray, 22, of Acworth, was also arrested for trafficking heroin, possession of marijuana, possession of cocaine and possession of heroin.
Both men were arrested in Holly Springs during a planned drug bust operation, CMANS Cmdr. Phil Price said. Price said his unit had been dealing with the two men previously and had them under surveillance.
The total amount of heroin discovered was 4 grams, Price said, which is also the minimum amount to warrant a trafficking charge.
“The most heroin I’ve ever seen, I’ve seen this week,” Price said. “That’s not a huge amount, but we just not seen heroin outside of metro Atlanta.”
Lt. Jay Baker, spokesman for the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office, said heroin is a narcotic that has been abused in the United States since before the turn of the 20th century, but has previously been known as an “urban drug.”
“Heroin sales were generally limited to sections of downtown Atlanta,” Baker said. “The disturbing trend of seeing heroin use and sales in the suburbs is being recognized nationally as a significant drug trend of concern.”
Price said deputies have arrested several people in connection with suspected heroin use in recent months. Those arrested have told Price that CMANS’ efforts in cutting down the flow of prescription drugs “into the wrong hands” has pushed users to purchase heroin.
“Heroin has a similar high to Oxycontin, and is easily injected,” Price said. “We’re starting to see heroin in significant quantities, whereas before this had been something that had been relatively rare.”
Baker said other factors, including changes in prescription pain killer formulas, have also led to the sudden surge in heroin use in counties like Cherokee.
Price said his unit works to identify these trends and address them with enforcement and education.
“It’s just a matter of identifying the trends and trying to get ahead of them and having an effective enforcement method in place,” he said.
The law enforcement executives who make up the CMANS Control Board include Sheriff Roger Garrison, Chief Robert Merchant of Canton Police Department, Chief Ken Ball of Holly Springs Police Department, Chief Calvin Moss of Woodstock Police Department, and Chief Dana Davis of Ball Ground Police Department.
“(We) strongly support the aggressive enforcement of the laws against these deadly drugs,” Garrison said. “The citizens of Cherokee County deserve a safe community to live and work in, and the cooperative effort of all these agencies is the reason CMANS has been successful.”