Federal charges have been filed against a dozen people involved in a drug trafficking organization that allegedly sold fentanyl-laced heroin throughout multiple communities for years, including Livingston County.

Overdose deaths from heroin and fentanyl have become a state and national epidemic, as authorities say individuals addicted to prescription pills become desperate to feed their addictions. Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid similar to morphine but is 50 to 100 times more potent and results in frequent overdoses that can lead to respiratory depression and death. The prescription drug is typically used to treat patients with severe pain or to manage pain after surgery. Federal indictments against twelve Oakland County residents were announced Wednesday morning and involved several law enforcement groups. The twelve charged are said to be involved in a drug trafficking organization known as “TEAM” that authorities say has been tied to countless deaths dating as far back as 2013. Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard commented that opioids are “an equal opportunity destroyer” that affects all ages and communities but is killing people everywhere.

Charges include distribution of heroin and fentanyl resulting in overdose death and serious bodily injury. The indictment says TEAM members would deliver heroin to customers at homes in Oakland, Livingston, Macomb and Wayne Counties, as well as parking lots and strip malls throughout Pontiac. (JM)