May 17, 2011

13 young adults accused of dealing heroin in Flower Mound area

If convicted, they face a maximum of 40 years in federal prison.

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Three heroin overdose deaths led to the arrests and indictments of 13 young adults who are accused of dealing heroin in the Flower Mound area.

Five are teens from Grapevine, Highland Village, Lewisville and Flower Mound.

"Anytime our youth are using a drug as potent as heroin it's a problem," said Capt. Wess Griffin, Flower Mound police spokesman. "The people in these indictments are mostly young and come from middle- to upper-middle-class families."

Justice Department officials disclosed Tuesday that the 13 were indicted last month and charged with conspiring to distribute more than 100 grams of heroin. If convicted, they face a maximum of 40 years in federal prison. Four other men were indicted on other charges related to the case.

One of those indicted is Joseph Hoffman, 19, of Flower Mound, who has already pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute heroin, authorities said.

He faces up to 40 years in federal prison for his role in distributing heroin that led to one death, according to the Justice Department.

Harold Renz, 17, and Brett Okeefe, 18, both died of heroin overdoses in March 2010 in Flower Mound, while Justin Rodriguez, 19, died of an overdose July 10.

According to federal court documents, Hoffman has reached a plea agreement with federal officials that has been sealed. Federal authorities did not provide details Tuesday on whose death led to Hoffman's arrest and indictment.

Flower Mound police were investigating heroin sales in their area and asked Drug Enforcement Administration officials for help after the scope of the inquiry grew, Griffin said. The investigation spanned more than a year, and more federal indictments are possible, Griffin said.

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