The 2017 death of a 22-year-old Virginia resident from a fentanyl overdose prompted a narcotics investigation that led to the discovery and seizure of heroin worth $35,000 and the indictment of 16 suspects, according to a press release from the Amherst County Sheriff’s Office. Law enforcement has apprehended 12 of the suspects and is actively searching for the other four. The ACSO was assisted in what was named “Operation Ghost Raptor” by the Virginia State Police, the Lynchburg Police Department and the Campbell and Appomattox County Sheriff’s Offices. The investigation is said to be ongoing.
During an intensive three-week undercover narcotics investigation, deputies and officers are said to have identified several locations that were used by the suspects to store and distribute illegal drugs. Searches of these locations allegedly led to the discovery of about 5 ounces of heroin. The evidence gathered suggests that the drugs were brought into Virginia from New Jersey. The U.S. Marshals Service has been called in to assist with the search for suspects who may have left Virginia.
In an Oct. 30 press conference, the Amherst County sheriff told reporters that he launched the investigation after promising the family of an overdose victim that he would find the individuals responsible for their loss and hold them responsible. He thanked state and local law enforcement officials and officers for the assistance they provided during the operation.
Operations of this type often lead to the arrest of a dozen or more suspects, but prosecutors are not always provided with evidence that can prove guilt beyond reasonable doubt against all of the individuals charged. This is why experienced criminal defense attorneys may advise individuals who are taken into custody during drug sweeps to make no admissions or statements before speaking with a lawyer. After assessing the evidence, attorneys may recommend either entering into a negotiated plea agreement or fighting the drug charges in court.