Pill crackdown leads to rise in heroin

3 arrested in 3 days on heroin charges

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Edward McLaughlin, Dennis Chervyakiov, Jason Hanson

PALM COAST, Fla. - Three men were arrested in Flagler County in the past three days on charges of heroin possession, a problem, deputies said, comes from the county's crackdown on illegal prescription drugs.

Flagler County deputies said detectives saw Jason Hanson, 28, and Dennis Chervyakiov, 32, both of Palm Coast, bought heroin in a restaurant parking lot Saturday afternoon.

On Monday, Edward McLaughlin, 29, of Bunnell, was arrested after detectives said he trafficked in more than 14 grams of heroin to the county. Detectives said they had McLaughlin under surveillance and that he was transporting drugs from South Carolina to his home in Bunnell.

Flagler County Sheriff Donald Fleming said detectives identified an organization that is a "major distributor of heroin in the area," and that McLaughlin is a "major player" in that organization.

Sheriff's deputies credit the rise in heroin to a statewide strike on "pill mills." In the past several months, undercover narcotics detectives noticed the street price for oxycodone pills went up from an average of $15 a pill to $25 a pill.

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