BOISE -- Federal agents, police officers, U.S. attorneys, and others came together Wednesday to announce a big drug bust. They say it highlights a growing problem in Idaho. They're working to fight it, but you can also help.
Those police officers and attorneys say 11 people, three of them in their teens, were federally indicted for trafficking and dealing heroin and oxycodone, a prescription drug.
Appearing in federal court on Tuesday were 20-year-old Austin Serb, 24-year-old Christopher Snyder, and 23-year-old Andrew Colwell, all of Boise. A trial date is set for May 6 before U.S. District Judge Edward J. Lodge.
Also named in the federal indictment are 28-year-old Jeffery Manchester, 19-year-old Jordan Baptista, 19-year-old Travis Fraser, 19-year-old Kekai Wachi, 22-year-old Jared Hicks, 44-year-old Ellen McDaniel, and 29-year-old James Acarregui, all of Boise. Also charged is 24-year-old Jordan Grainger, of Meridian. Trial dates for them haven't been set as they haven't yet made their initial court appearances.
The indictment says, since 2012, these people conspired to, and distributed heroin and 160,000 oxycodone pills. The street value of those pills alone is more than $6 million.
U.S. Attorney Wendy Olson says this is the most significant prescription painkiller case ever charged in Idaho.
It also marks the first large-scale prosecution after an investigation by the Tactical Diversion Squad, which includes local police, deputies, and federal agents. Their mission is to target prescription drug crime. Why? Because they say it's on the rise.
Unfortunately, this is a growing problem, and I would say an epidemic, both across the nation and in the city of Boise, said Boise Police Deputy Chief Bill Bones. It has a drastic effect on the families it touches. It's complicated by the fact that prescription drugs are often believed by our youth and young adults to have a safety factor, because they're prescription. They don't realize the addictive nature, the fact that they ruin lives, that they will actually end lives.
Agents couldn't say yet, exactly where these people allegedly got all those pills. But they say, normally, dealers get them from pharmacy burglaries, distributors, and just peoples' medicine cabinets. Which is why everyone can help battle this by simply keeping an eye on the meds and locking up their medicine cabinets.
If you want to know more about how you can keep prescription drugs out of the wrong hands, go to www.lockyourmedsidaho.org.