published Friday, June 27th, 2014

Nashville: 21 in custody in multistate heroin investigation

NASHVILLE — Twenty-one people were in custody Friday after a multistate investigation of what officials say was a heroin distribution ring.

The indictment states that Nashville resident Jamal Cooper obtained large quantities of heroin that was repackaged and sold in Middle Tennessee, northern Alabama and St. Louis, Missouri. It states that members of the conspiracy mixed fentanyl with heroin and also distributed fentanyl as heroin.

Fentanyl is cheaper than heroin, but also more powerful.

The indictment says the conspirators are responsible for two overdose deaths in Alabama and several nonfatal overdoses.

In addition to trafficking charges, four people, including Cooper, face firearms charges. Cooper and three others are accused of fentanyl distribution resulting in the death of another person.

Cooper's attorney, Michael Flanagan, said he anticipates that Cooper will plead not guilty.

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