CHEATHAM COUNTY, Tenn. (WRKN) – Burglaries. Shootings. Robberies. Murders. Cheatham County drug agents say opioids are responsible for most crimes in their county.
News 2’s Andy Cordan went out with members of the special ops unit to see the war from the frontlines of opioids.
Lt. Shannon Heflin, who leads the county’s drug unit, says the pills are expensive.
“They have an addiction doing three to four pills a day,” he said. It’s a several-hundred-dollar-a-day habit.”
“They can’t hold down a job, so where are they going to get the income to afford their habit?” Heflin explained.
He said the first place they go is into a home, stealing valuable items like guns, jewelry, and electronics.
Lt. Heflin, a 22-year veteran, says just about every crime they see can be traced back to pain pills and the addiction they fuel.
“Now a days, it’s safe to say 99 percent of it is drug-related,” he explained.
Veteran drug agents John Mobley and Dale Smith are on the force.
After surveilling a parking lot and seeing suspicious activity, they stop two cars and find small amounts of marijuana.
“When I first approached the vehicle, I could smell burnt marijuana and raw marijuana. When I asked if anyone in the vehicle had smoked marijuana this night, he said he didn’t but his buddy did,” he said.
“It goes hand in hand. It’s a gateway drug,” Mobley says. “Whether it’s marijuana or pills or heroin, we look for the same things-a car pulling up to a car, the hand-to-hand transactions.”
On this night, drug agents find no pills, no heroin, and make no arrests.
But tomorrow will bring another night, another parking lot, another vehicle stop.
“Once you start using heroin, it’s got you,” Lt. Heflin added.Click here for more on the opioid crisis in Tennessee.