Riding along with the DEA Special Agent in Charge

Posted at 11:34 PM, Aug 04, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-04 23:34:13-04

Drug overdose is one of the leading causes of death in the country, and most of them are stemming from heroin use. Federal agents say the problem is getting worse, including here in metro Detroit.

For the first time, the Drug Enforcement Agency's Detroit Division is speaking up about the issue and how they're feverishly working to put a stop to it.

Also, the DEA allowed our camera to ride along with agents and the special agent in charge to help raise awareness to the problem in our area.

Timothy Plancon is the special agent in charge and he heads up all DEA activity in Michigan, Ohio and Kentucky.

He took us through some of the hot spots where addicts are known to get their heroin.

"The biggest problem we're having throughout the division and here in Detroit is heroin and opioid abuse," Plancon said.

More than a dozen overdose deaths in one Detroit neighborhood near Land St. happened in the spring alone.

Agents say most heroin users start out with prescription pills and then head straight to heroin because it's cheaper and easier to get. Users are also drawn to areas with overdose deaths.

"If an addict finds there's an area with a lot of overdoses happening, a lot of times they'll flock to that area because they think it's better heroin," Plancon said. "It doesn't necessarily mean that this neighborhood is riddled with addicts, it could be suburbanites, could be people from different parts of the city, anywhere, but this is where there is a good source of supply."

Thanks to tactical teams, informants, wire taps and good policing, DEA agents have been putting dents in drug trafficking in metro Detroit.

In 2013, the agency made 58 arrests related to dealers in the area, 98 in 2014 and 121 last year. That numbers don't include arrests by state and local law enforcement agencies who target low level dealers.

Federal agents say you can help get drugs off the streets too. If you have any information you think the DEA should look into, you can submit a tip anonymously at their website