Two suspects charged in heroin bust conducted by county and town officers
by Allison Haver
Local authorities are working together to help keep heroin
out of Watauga County.
On Tuesday, narcotics detectives from the Watauga County
Sheriff's Office and Boone Police Department conducted two joint undercover
operations, seizing 2.2 grams of Heroin.
The arrests were part of a joint investigation by both
agencies into the sell and distribution of heroin in Watauga County. The seized heroin had an estimated street
value of over $1,000.
Cody Michael Schumann, 23, of 3210 Kellersville Road, Banner
Elk, was charged with possession with the intent to manufacture, sell and/or
deliver schedule I heroin and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Schumann was taken to the Watauga County Detention Center in
lieu of a $15,000 secured bond. Schumann is scheduled to appear in District
Court on March 18.
Jacob Tyler Trachtenberg, 25, of 142 Berry Road, Banner Elk,
was charged with possession with the intent to manufacture, sell and/or deliver
schedule I heroin, conspiracy to sell/deliver schedule I heroin, and possession
of drug paraphernalia. Trachtenberg was
taken to the Watauga County Detention Center in lieu of a $10,000 secured bond.
Trachtenberg is scheduled to appear in District Court on March 18.
"It is indeed unfortunate that we are seeing the rise of heroin use here in Watauga County. This is mirroring regional information from our sister law enforcement agencies, who are also seeing increases in heroin use," Watauga County Sheriff, Len Hagaman said in a release.
Hagaman said it was suggested that the increase of heroin use was due to prescription drug users needing a less expensive replacement for their increasingly expensive drugs and dealers' aggressive marketing techniques.
"What's happened is the people who sell this product have made it appear safer, made it less expensive, and they give you the misconception that it's less harmful if you smoke it," Hagaman said.
Boone Police Chief Dana Crawford said that the police department "prioritizes heroin cases."
"When it starts showing up in the area we knock it down right away," Crawford said.
According to Crawford the Boone Police Department initiated
the undercover operation and then worked in conjunction with the Watauga County
Sheriff's Office when the drugs started showing up in the county's
"We don't want it (heroin) engrained here. When a supplier comes and sets up shop here we do everything we can to stop it," Crawford said.
Heroin usually appears as a white or brown powder or black
sticky substance, known as black tar heroin.
It is an opiate that is synthesized from morphine, a
naturally occurring substance extracted from the seedpod of the Asian opium
poppy plant that is usually grown in Asia or Mexico, according to the National
Institute on Drug Abuse.
From 2004 to 2008, a report by the U.S. Department of Justice noted that authorities estimate Mexican heroin production increased 342 percent, information from the Watauga County Sheriff's Office noted.
"I think what's driving people over to heroin is just the cost of the pills, more than anything else right now. The price of illegal prescription pain pills at $30 to $80 per pill, but black tar heroin can be found for $10 per dose," Hagaman said in a release.