ST. TAMMANY PARISH, LA (WVUE) - More than a dozen people were arrested Friday in "Operation Fishnet" and 12 more are sought in connection with what police are calling a sophisticated heroin ring on the north shore. Some of the suspects have familiar names.
Those arrested include Ryan O'Shea, who played for UNO and was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles, and Casey Kebodeaux, who pitched for Alabama.
Among those still at large are Ryan Adams, who also played for the Orioles, and Steven Korte Jr., who played football for LSU.
The alleged ring leader, 29-year-old Scottie Fisher, of Mandeville, is being described a major player in the heroin drug trade across St. Tammany and Tangipahoa parishes. He was arrested at his Mandeville home.
"This guy Scottie Fisher was selling to individuals who we believe used to do prescription drugs in the past, and stepped it up," St. Tammany narcotics officer Capt. William Hart said.
Authorities say they were led to Fisher and the other suspects through a telephone tip.
The arrests show how common heroin has become. Its use is prevalent in all parishes, in the suburbs as well as the city, and the results can often be deadly.
"From there we are starting to see a rise of heroin deaths," said Jefferson Parish Deputy Coroner Dr. Granville Morse. "In the past two years, we've had 65, 66 deaths in 2013 and 14."
That's 66 deaths each year in Jefferson Parish alone, up from practically nothing a couple of years ago.
Morse said the increased heroin use is likely because of a successful crackdown on prescription drugs, with prescriptions being monitored on the web.
"We can see if people have gotten large quantities of drugs from other doctors, and when they've gotten it," Morse said.
With increased heroin use across the metro area, authorities are determined to keep up the pressure.
"Heroin is one of those drugs that you try one time, and you're hooked for life, and sometime life is very short," St. Tammany Parish Sheriff Jack Strain said.