- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 28, 2015

COVINGTON, La. (AP) - Law enforcement agencies in St. Tammany and Tangipahoa parishes have announced the breakup of a heroin ring.

Nola.com/The Times-Picayune reports (https://bit.ly/1MSPMIz ) that, as of Monday, 15 people had been arrested and at least 7 more were being pursued

St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Jack Strain discussed the case during a news conference in Covington.

Strain said the investigation, dubbed “Operation Fishnet”, spanned 14 months. It began with a citizen’s complaint about drug sales in the parish.

Eventually, the task force involved police in Mandeville and Covington, sheriff’s deputies in both parishes and the Louisiana State Police.

Strain said federal agents with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Customs all joined the group.

Heroin is alive and well and in our community,” Mandeville Police Chief Rick Richard said.

The latest sweep, however, has dealt a serious blow to the supply chain of the drug, according to law enforcement officials. The key is getting the cuffs not on the users but on people higher up the chain, Strain said.

“When you can take a distributor off the street that is true (law enforcement) success and enforcement,” he said.

St. Tammany District Attorney Warren Montgomery, whose investigators were briefed regularly on the operation, said he hopes to make narcotics probes a priority.

“This office is going to take a more proactive role in partnering with local, state and federal law enforcement officials to target drug trafficking organizations,” Montgomery wrote in a statement.

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Information from: The Times-Picayune, https://www.nola.com

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