2017-12-07 / Front Page

Heroin busts continue

Probe reaches T-C, Benzie
By Patti Brandt Burgess
Of The Enterprise staff

The heroin problem is spiraling out of control in Leelanau County.

So says Sheriff Mike Borkovich, who is currently training all his deputies on Fentanyl and carfentanil — drugs that are mixed with heroin and causing deadly overdoses.

“Just now the overall general public is starting to wake up to the problem,” Borkovich said.

The county also has an undercover officer who is a member of the Traverse Narcotics Team (TNT), multi-jurisdictional drug task force team that is working to eradicate drugs in northern Michigan.

The Leelanau Sheriff’s Office doesn’t have the budget to step up drug enforcement and must work within its means.

But the county TNT officer is effective — and very necessary — for drug enforcement efforts, Borkovich said.

“Those who haven’t been arrested yet will be, and that’s due to the efforts of TNT,” he said.

Two people — including a former Suttons Bay woman — were recently arrested after the Nov. 22 heroin overdose death of 31-year-old Kevin D. Yannett of Suttons Bay.

An investigation showed that Erin S. Grant, 20, and Preston Weaver, 21, formerly of Wisconsin, sold the heroin to Yannett.

They are both being held in the Leelanau County Jail on charges of delivery of a controlled substance causing death. Their bonds are set at $100,000 each.

Two recent busts made by TNT officers at a Traverse City motel and during a traffic stop in Benzie County took six people — all of whom were dealers — off the streets.

Those arrests may or may not be connected to the flow of heroin into Leelanau County. Borkovich declined to comment on the subject, saying the busts are part of an ongoing investigation.

“TNT officers know where the drugs are coming from, who is bringing them into the area and who is using them,” Borkovich said. “There are more arrests to come.”

Three people were arrested Monday after a tip led undercover officers to a Traverse City motel. Activity associated with drug trafficking was observed, prompting police to obtain a search warrant.

That warrant yielded drug packaging materials, syringes loaded with suspected narcotics, scales and about 25 grams of crack cocaine, cocaine and heroin.

A 39-year-old Ohio man, a 38-yearold Ohio woman and a 28-year-old Traverse City woman were arrested on multiple charges, including possession with intent to deliver narcotics and maintaining a drug house.

The trio also had outstanding warrants and a probation violation.

A bust carried out on Nov. 27 saw another three people behind bars. They are a 40-year-old man from Detroit and a 25-year-old Honor area woman who sold heroin to a TNT officer.

The pair was later stopped in Benzie County and arrested on charges of delivery of heroin and conspiracy to deliver heroin. Both people were known to TNT officers because of their extensive drug history and tips they received from the public.

A third suspect, a 32-year-old Frankfort man, was developed during that arrest and TNT officers arranged for another buy in Frankfort. The 32-year-old was arrested without incident and is charged with delivery of cocaine and bringing contraband into a jail.

Borkovich said drug abuse and addiction is connected to low self-esteem, low self-worth and depression.

“This is not about arresting people,” Borkovich said. “It’s about educating our youth and creating jobs that will help them develop a sense of self worth.”

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