The Cole County Circuit Court issued charges Tuesday against three men in connection to a heroin overdose in early March.
The court charged Phillip Connor for distributing heroin to Darrin Woods. On March 3, Randall McKenzie, Jr. took Woods to the hospital after he overdosed on the drug. Police discovered Woods was packaging marijuana at the time of the overdose. Connor is charged with distributing heroin, while Woods and McKenzie are charged with possessing marijuana with intent to distribute - both are class B felonies, a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.
Jefferson City Police Department Captain Doug Shoemaker said Thursday the department had made an intentional effort lately to curb the spread of heroin.
"Because of the danger to the community, we take [heroin] as a much more serious offense in terms of how we allocate our resources," Shoemaker said. "You hate to triage the level of drugs, and which ones are important and which ones aren't. But in the grand scheme of things, we're going to spend more money and time combating the drugs that are killing our local residents before we are to maybe those that aren't showing that same kind of statistic."
He said the department's role with the MUSTANG Drug Task Force, a multi-agency group dedicated to drug investigations, has helped the department do more undercover work to root out the distributors of heroin.
The H.O.P.E. Campaign, a public awareness program that involves medical specialists and former heroin addicts, has helped raise the department's understanding of the drug.
"There is no one single age group, no ethnicity, there's no gender that it affects. It's everyone," Shoemaker said. "This does not discriminate."
Connor, Woods and McKenzie, Jr. each have arraignments scheduled for April 16.