New arrests made in NKY heroin bust

FLORENCE, KY (FOX19) - Several people were arrested following a two month-long drug investigation in Northern Kentucky.

The Florence Police Department, along with the Erlanger and Elsmere Police Departments, executed multiple search and arrest warrants for heroin trafficking out of the Super 8 Motel on Dream Street.

Officers recovered about 37 grams of heroin and three quarters of a pound of marijuana as well as more than $6,000 in cash.

Arrested were Anthony Magness, 47, Scott Mcrae, 41, of Erlanger, Angela Hicks, 34, and Tina Rodriguez, 39, of Elsmere and LaDonna Magness. A fifth person, Joshua Jones, 24, of Erlanger, is wanted in connection with this case. All are charged with trafficking in a controlled substance and engaging in organized crime.

On Friday, officials announced that a minority owner of the hotel, Saurabh Taneja, 32, was also arrested and charged with engaging in organized crime.

Also arrested but no directly connected to the drug investigation were Tim Shields for alcohol intoxication, Amber Holman, of Burlington, for alcohol intoxication. Kendra Gillespie, of Alexandria, and Jonathan Beard for possession of a controlled substance.

"It's just a tidal wave right now, and we're just, kind of, starting from behind," said Capt. Linny Cloyd of the Florence Police Department.

The Florence Police Department headed up Thursday morning's heroin arrests.  With the help of a few other departments, four people are behind bars facing drug trafficking and organized crime charges. But are arrests like this enough to cut into what's becoming a huge problem?

"I'm not sure there's enough being done in the greater Cincinnati area, and that's through no fault of anyone because this is a problem that has just skyrocketed.  It has taken off overnight, and everybody's playing catch-up," added Capt. Cloyd.

Mark Schweitzer is the coroner in Campbell County, KY, and he's seen his share of drug overdoses.  But, the heroin numbers are staggering.

"My first 12 years we had 5 heroin overdoses.  I had 38 last year alone.  It's definitely become a problem that I didn't see for the first 10 years," Schweitzer told FOX19.

How can this epidemic be slowed down?  Police say it's going to take a lot more than arresting their way out of the problem.

"It's a societal problem.  We're all in this together.  There's not one group specifically, not law enforcement, treatment, whatever, that's going to be able to stop this on their own," Capt. Cloyd told FOX19.

Police say they'll keep investigating and fighting in hopes to finally cut down the growing problem.

"Will we stop it?  I don't know.  Can we slow it down?  Perhaps, but it's going to be a joint community effort," said Capt. Cloyd.

Schweitzer added that the numbers this year are on pace to top last year's.  He said so far this year, there's been about 20 heroin-related deaths he's dealt with.

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