ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ/AP)—Annapolis Police make a series of arrests in a crackdown on the heroin epidemic in the county.

Monique Griego reports this was a months-long investigation that had officers out on the streets undercover, making buys from a lot of dealers.

A multi-agency investigation ends with the arrest and indictment of nine alleged heroin dealers, all working out of the Annapolis area.

The drug initiative ignited after Calvert County Police noticed a spike in overdoses and realized the drug trail led back to one area.

“I don’t know what about Annapolis it was, but it was obvious that we know the Calvert County citizens were coming here to get the heroin and bringing it back,” said Sheriff Mike Evans, Calvert County.

Over the next several months, detectives from Calvert County, Annapolis Police and other Maryland law enforcement agencies worked together on an intense undercover investigation.

“The detectives set up a series of undercover purchases and began intelligence criminal investigations involved in what we know now to be two organized drug gangs, drug groups,” said Chief Michael Pristoop, Annapolis Police.

Heroin is a widespread and growing problem throughout Maryland.

In Annapolis, there have been six fatal overdoses due to heroin last year and one this year. There also have been 22 non-fatal overdoses this year.

Police say detectives were able to link nine Anne Arundel County overdoses to the indicted suspects.

“These are folk who are introducing a deadly drug into our community, and that drug’s killing people left and right,” said Chief Kevin Davis, Anne Arundel County Police.

While police hope these arrests send a message, they know the fight is far from over.

“It is the beginning, and it’s just an effort we have to keep up,” Pristoop said.

Police seized 100 grams of heroin, estimated to be worth $100,000. They also have a list of other suspects, so more arrests are expected.

Two juveniles were arrested in the initiative.

(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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