County residents arrested in heroin dealer roundupPublished 9:52am Tuesday, September 17, 2013
By STEPHANIE BRUMFIELD / Staff Writer
Three Shelby County residents were arrested Sept. 16 in conjunction with a federal roundup of 50 heroin dealers across the state.
John Feltenberger, 45, of Columbiana, Darryl Miller, 44, of Helena and Roger Hughes, 41, of Columbiana were all arrested on charges related to heroin distribution, according to a United States Attorney’s office press release. As of Sept. 16, 40 defendants were taken into custody with more arrests pending.
“This the beginning and not the end of our investigative efforts to attack the supply of heroin (in the state),” said Clay Morris, assistant special agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration in Alabama.
“Those who want to deal heroin and cause harm in our communities, they need to understand that we will investigate them and bring them to justice because they are killing our children,” Morris said.
According to the press release, confirmed cases of heroin overdose deaths in Jefferson, Shelby and Tuscaloosa counties have increased from 15 to 83 from 2008 to 2012, with the majority of deaths occurring in people in their 20s and 30s in 2012. Teenagers are also dying in increasing numbers, the press release said.
Morris said the multi-county investigation has been underway for about a year and was motivated by drug trafficking organizations “targeting our communities and children.”
He said the next step is to transition some of the DEA’s efforts into the prosecution and trial phases for those who have been arrested, but investigations are still ongoing.
“We very much have active and ongoing investigations for other groups,” he said.
Specific charges for Shelby County residents involved in the roundup could not be confirmed at press time.