AG Schuette updates progress of Opioid Drug Unit

MACKINAC ISLAND, Mich (WLNS) – Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette says a newly formed Opioid Trafficking and Interdiction Unit is up and running.

Schuette made his announcement at a roundtable discussion on Mackinac Island.

According to Schuette the unit is already prosecuting or has convicted more than a dozen people in connection with delivering heroin or other opioids in Michigan.

“We can’t arrest our way out of this problem, but we can reduce the amount of heroin and other opioids available in Michigan and the Opioid Trafficking and Interdiction Unit will do just that,” said Schuette.

Schuette said the goal of the unit is to cut off the supply of heroin and pills and support law enforcement in prosecuting people supplying drugs to Michigan residents.

The unit, made up of four Assistant Attorneys General, has taken on more than 40 cases.

That team can also work on felony murder cases if it is alleged that the delivery of opioids was the cause of death.

In 2015, almost 2,000 Michiganders died of overdoses, mostly from opioids, up more than 25 percent from just two years before.

Schuette, a Republican, was joined at the announcement by Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton, a Democrat whom Schuette defeated in the 2010 attorney general’s race.

Schuette is considered by many people to be a likely candidate for governor in 2018 but he insists he has “my own timetable” for making an announcement.