CINCINNATI – Local police agencies heard the cries from families who lost loved ones to heroin overdoses:
Track down the dealers who sold them the fatal drugs. And put them away for a long time.
That's what the Hamilton County Heroin Task Force is doing. And that's why Vance Morgan was arrested over the weekend and charged with involuntary manslaughter.
The task force said Morgan, 25, of Cincinnati, provided the mix of heroin and fentanyl that killed Casey Fewell last October.
Since last year, the task force, made up from several local and statewide agencies, has been investigating deadly overdoses and trying to collect evidence to bring more serious charges against dealers.
"The people that were dying from these heroin overdoses, there was never any punishment. There was never any consequences for the people supplying the fatal heroin," says Sgt. Mikal Steers, a task force member from the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office.
Last year, the task force investigated 53 fatal overdoses. They collected enough evidence to prosecute nine cases.
They investigated Sewell's death for four months before finally getting a six-count indictment against Morgan.
"What we do now on a fatal heroin overdose is we treat that like the crime scene that it is," Steers said.
Steers said most of their investigations center around the dangerous combination of heroin and fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that makes each hit more potent and more lethal.
"They think they're going out to buy a certain amount of heroin and they actually get fentanyl, which is much more potent, and that's where these fatal overdoses come into play," Steers said.
The indictment also accuses Morgan of selling drugs to another man, Charles Funk. The other counts include corrupting another with drugs, aggravated trafficking in heroin (two counts) and aggravated trafficking in fentanyl (two counts).
The task force was created by the Hamilton County Association of Chiefs of Police in 2015 and is made up of investigators from the Sheriff’s Office, Cincinnati and Norwood police, the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation and the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
Morgan was arrested Sunday by the Sheriff’s Office Fugitive Warrants Unit, the task force said.