VIRGINIA BEACH -- Detectives in Virginia Beach have made multiple drug arrests after recently seeing an increase in heroin overdoses and deaths.
During 2013, the Virginia Beach Police Department reported 62 overdoses and 25 deaths attributed to heroin use.
Beach police say they took a proactive approach, assigning narcotics detectives to respond to all reported overdoses and deaths in an effort to gather information and potential leads.
During their investigations, detectives established leads on individuals involved in the distribution of heroin, ultimately seizing heroin, fetynal, cocaine, marijuana, firearms, vehicles and currency all related to heroin cases.
In the last seven months, detectives have arrested 49 people in connection to heroin-related deaths and overdoses.
Police say five cases are being prosecuted federally by the United States Attorney’s Office one case involves a large-scale heroin distributor operating throughout Hampton Roads.
Stephen Ron Martin, 20, of Virginia Beach, faces federal charges of heroin distribution resulting in death. If convicted, he faces 20 years to life in prison.
In that case, the U.S. Attorney's Office says Martin distributed heroin to Steven Bradley Nichols on October 27, 2013. Nichols died two days later. According to authorities, there was evidence of recent heroin use in plain view inside Nichols’ apartment, including a depressed syringe on a desk nearby and a needle mark on Nichols’ arm. Two plastic bags, one of which was open, was found on the kitchen counter. The bags were tested and found to contain heroin, according to federal prosecutors.
Additional cases remain under investigation.