OAKLAND COUNTY, Mich. - Twelve people were charged Wednesday with selling a deadly mix of heroin and fentanyl in Oakland County, officials announced.
Solving the opioid epidemic isn't as easy as police busting dealers, but what happened in Oakland County was a major victory in the war on drugs.
Police said they can't arrest their way out of the vast opioid crisis, which stretches from coast to coast. But pulling the grim profiteers off the streets is a vital part of the battle.
On Wednesday, police announced a dozen arrests and serious penalties for the people who were charged. It's a 10-count grand jury indictment that dates back to 2013, involving the distribution and sale of heroin and fentanyl.
But that's just the beginning. The indictment also goes into great depth regarding how the sales led to the death of at least four victims.
Timothy Williams, 26, of Pontiac, was the leader of what was called "The Team," a heroin sales network that used houses such as one on Granada Drive and another on West Hopkins Avenue in Pontiac, police said.
Williams went by the nickname "T-2," police said.
The operation branched out around Livingston, Macomb, Wayne and Oakland counties, according to officials.
Arrested along with Williams were Kourvoisiea Pittman, 27, Christopher Light, 25, of Commerce, and Deaire Rayford, 26, of Auburn Hills. All four are in state custody.
Four others were in federal court Wednesday for arraignments. Federal officials picked up Kristopher Anderson, 40, in Tennessee on Wednesday.
Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said the epidemic is too widespread and dangerous to do anything but go hard after criminals.
"If you sell this death in Oakland County or the others this touched -- Livingston, Macomb and Wayne -- we're coming for you," Bouchard said. "Period."
Half the group will face enhanced penalties with more jail time, and some face up to life in prison.
Bouchard held up a list of people his officers gave Narcan, which is the drug to reverse heroin overdoses. There were 150 names on the list in Oakland County, demonstrating the breadth of the problem.
"All of us are going to work together to find you, regardless of where you hide, regardless of what rock you're under," Bouchard said. "We're going to find you and put you in prison."
Bouchard said scores of police agencies formed a drug task force and went after two street gangs selling the drugs: The Wall Street Gorrillaz and the Hustle Boys.
Bouchard said the most recent heroin deaths in Southeast Michigan aren't tied to the ring. He said the deaths are tied to crimes that happened as long as four years ago.
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