BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The Department of Justice said a federal grand jury had indicted 11 men on charges of heroin trafficking.
The men are accused of trafficking heroin between Baton Rouge and California. Eight of the 11 men are from Baton Rouge or Denham Springs.
"You have sellers who have been charged and you have the manufacturers and the large-scale distributors that have been charged," said U.S. Attorney Walt Green.
Green said the group carried out a cross-country plan to disguise heroin in the form of oxycodone pills.
"They were basically counterfeiting oxycodone to make a bigger profit than selling it as heroin," said Green. "The most dangerous part here is that when you're buying this pill off the street,you do not know what you are getting, and you do not know the effects that it would have on you."
Green said the bust followed a year-long federal investigation. Some East Baton Rouge authorities are surprised just how large the ring was.
District Attorney Hillar Moore said the parish has a lot of work ahead if leaders have any shot at curbing record-breaking heroin numbers.
Dr. Beau Clark, the East Baton Rouge Parish coroner, said Monday that 38 people have died this year from heroin overdoses. The previous record for heroin overdoses was 35 deaths in 2013.
Moore is calling for a more calculated, data-driven approach at identifying who is most vulnerable to becoming the next victim of heroin. He was inspired by similar movements around the country.
"Can we find some data as to who is abusing the heroin and where is the heroin coming from?" said Moore.
He admitted those statistics will likely be hard to get.