Source: Sherman Publications

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The Sheriff’s fight against Orion drugs

by Gabriel L. Ouzounian

August 01, 2012

One more drug dealer is off the streets as of July 17.

At his apartment on E. Flint, Bryan Winkler, 22, a suspected drug dealer was caught by Oakland County's Narcotics Enforcement Team (NET) when detectives made numerous purchase of marijuana directly from the suspect. After obtaining a search warrant, NET officers confiscated 129.8 grams of Marijuana, 3 MDMA (ecstasy) pills, a digital scale, packaging materials, $1,725 in cash, a laptop and proof of residency.

Winkler was arraigned in the 52-3 District Court and received a $10,000 personal bond. He had no prior criminal history.

Yet despite this success, sheriffs say this is not the end of drugs in Orion Township. Modern medicine has benefited man by curing ailments, alleviating pain and extending life. But benefits often come with detriments and in the case of prescription drugs, the results can be seen in a police report - addiction.

Orion Township has a drug problem and, currently, the narcotics of choice seem to be heroin and prescription drugs like Xanax and Oxycotton. The two are linked in that they sometimes produce similar feelings of pain killing and relaxation. Because they are similar, those that begin using prescription drugs sometimes turn to heroin for cheaper prices.

According to Orion Township Substation Commander Dan Toth, the increase in drug use has let to an increase in crime.

"We have seen a significant spike in larcenies and home invasions in the last 12 to 18 months. When we do apprehend these offenders we are finding many are committing these crimes to fund a drug addition," he said. "With heroin and these medications, what we are finding is that these people get physically and mentally dependent on them. They will go to just about any means to have a steady supply of these drugs. These offenders are from suburban areas and a good portion are from right here in our township."

Toth said prescription drugs increased in popularity after the ease of access, which is typically left over in the family medicine cabinet. Once the tablets from home are no longer available, users turn to the street to find the pills where they sell, according to Toth, for anywhere from $40 to $80 a tablet. In comparison, heroin is cheap.

"You have to remember, once they run out of the source, whether they're getting it from their family, stealing it or whatever, they will turn to heroin because you can get a packet of that for $15 to $20 for a single use," said Toth. "The offenders are telling us they have a drug problem because what starts as $40 dollars a day is now $400 dollars a day. They have to resort to stealing and that's accounting for a surge of home invasions."

Toth said about a year ago, NET made the biggest seizure in Michigan history in Pontiac where they seized 70 kilograms (valued at around $140 million) of uncut heroin. But in the last year, Toth said it seems the substance is still obtainable.

Which is where the public can play a hand - Toth said one of the best ways to stop the substance abuse problem in the township is to contact them with any suspicions.

"It's effective and any type of tip can always help law enforcement," he said. "If people realize there is something unusual in their neighborhood, like extra traffic, or even if co-workers seem like they've become involved, make a call. We are actively developing any information that we get from the community and are looking for the source of the drugs. That is one good way to combat substance abuse."

The tip line is 1-800-222-TIPS. Oakland County Sheriffs can be reached at 248-858-4950 or online at