In the wake of the recent investigations into heroin trafficking in Madison, officials are reporting an increase in dealing the drug statewide.
According to a Wisconsin Department of Justice release, Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said three men are facing several criminal charges related to heroin trafficking in Madison. Robert L. Adams of Madison; Eric L. Derring of Chicago; and Laquandis C. Gibson of Madison are currently being investigated.
The Justice Department’s Division of Criminal Investigation agents searched the alleged dealer’s Madison hotel room on Jan. 18, confiscating 20 grams of some substance appearing to be heroin, 2 cell phones, a digital scale and cash.
DOJ Special Agent in Charge James Engels said the division is seeing the distribution of heroin in Wisconsin occurring on both organized and individual levels.
“I think there is an organized effort to bring it here into the area and then the distribution of it tends to be on an individual level, maybe in smaller circles, but there is always a distribution point that comes into the area,” Engels said.
Within the past year there has been a significant increase in heroin use in the state, Engels said. He added whenever there is an uptick in usage of a drug, there seems to be a parallel increase in suppliers as well.
Attorney General spokesperson Dana Brueck said heroin has become a statewide issue, which has resulted in the attorney general creating a public awareness campaign called “The Fly Effect.” The purpose of this campaign is to spark more conversations about heroin, Brueck said.
Engels said in order to prevent or end the use and abuse of heroin, the Department of Justice is using a multi-faceted approach.
“We do not think there is one particular thing that is going to solve the heroin problem,” Engels said. “Instead we think that a multi-faceted approach involving enforcement and rehabilitation, so getting our medical and corrections to help with treatment options and get enforcement involved.”
Engels said communities should be involved in fixing this problem as well. He said by adding community members into the solution of this problem, awareness about heroin will increase and thus first time use can be prevented.