Prosecutor seeks tougher sentences for drug dealers to combat opioid crisis

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – In an effort to combat the ongoing opioid epidemic facing Indiana, the Marion County prosecutor announced he’s cracking down on certain drug dealers.

Prosecutor Terry Curry says his office will push for tougher sentences for certain drug offenses and will take a hard line on plea deals for drug some cases.

The prosecutor pointed to two recent cases that illustrate the no-nonsense approach.

This photo shows suspect Braxton Buford alongside a comparison of the amount of heroin that is deadly versus the amount of fentanyl that is deadly.

A routine traffic stop back in March led to the arrest of Braxton Buford. During a search of his car, police found large amounts of meth, cocaine, heroin and fentanyl.

Those are the types of drugs prosecutors say are fueling an increase in overdoses and deaths.

“We’re all recognizing that we have a crisis here,” said prosecutor Terry Curry.

Court records claim Buford had 53,000 lethal doses of fentanyl in his car at the time of his arrest.

“Three milligrams of fentanyl constitutes a lethal dose for an average man. He had 160 grams in his possession when he was arrested, in addition to heroin,” said Curry.

To make matters worse, less than a month after his arrest in March, police arrested Buford again on Washington Street in April with even more heroin.

This week a judge sentenced Buford to serve 30 years in prison.

In a second case, police busted Frank Dangerfield for repeatedly selling heroin in 2016. Last week, a judge sentenced Dangerfield to serve 26 years behind bars.

The prosecutor says both suspects and many others are feeding the addiction crisis and it’s time to punish them accordingly.

“Our office has made a decision that we are taking a hard line,” said Curry. “We just feel it’s important that we make a statement and don’t lose sight that there is a criminal side the opioid epidemic that’s occurring.”

Curry admits for lower level drug possession cases and first time offenders, prosecutors will continue to divert those suspects to drug court so they can get the treatment they need.

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