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A Chief of Hope: Episode 2


BLOCK A
((Banner:
Living America’s Opioid Nightmare))

((PKG)) OPIOIDS – NASHVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA--PART 2
((Popup Banner

More than 40,000 Americans die each year from opioid overdoses.
VOA looks at three stories from the epidemic))
((Producers: Jeff Swicord, Chris Simkins, Jacquelyn De Phillips))
((Camera:
Jeff Swicord, Chris Simkins, Mike Burke))
((Map: Nashville, North Carolina))
*****
((Kevin (K-Mac) McLaughlin, Commander, Tar River Drug Task Force))

Heroin was a problem years ago and it's obviously come back. It's pretty bad. It’s all across America. It's hit small rural areas just as much as it is in the bigger cities.
((NATS))
K-Mac:
White male, dirty blond, maybe even reddish tinted hair, low cut
((Kevin (K-Mac) McLaughlin, Commander, Tar River Drug Task Force))
We have a pipeline running through Nash County in I-95.
((NATS))
K-Mac: We have a lot of narcotics that are trafficked up and down the interstate.
((NATS))
Officer:
Oh man, step out for me. I got weed all in here.
((Kevin (K-Mac) McLaughlin, Commander, Tar River Drug Task Force))
We're not far from I-40 which runs east and west, coming out from Texas and going out to the coast here in North Carolina.
((NATS))
((Kevin (K-Mac) McLaughlin, Commander, Tar River Drug Task Force))
My job is to stop the flow of narcotics into Nash County by making arrests.
((NATS))
Officer:
You ever been to jail? It’s not like TV.
((Kevin (K-Mac) McLaughlin, Commander, Tar River Drug Task Force))
and investigating the individuals who are trafficking it into Nash County on up the chain.
((NATS))
Officer:
What the ****!
((Kevin (K-Mac) McLaughlin, Commander, Tar River Drug Task Force))
You got to keep the pressure on constantly. I mean it's, it's a war. It's a drug war out there.
*****
((Thomas Bashore, Police Chief, Nashville, North Carolina))

Christina came into the Nashville Police Department with her mother one afternoon and she was obviously needing detox.
((NATS))
Nurse:
So did you use Heroin?
((Christina, Heroin Addict)): Heroin, Roxies
Nurse: When was the last day to use Heroin?
Christina: Yesterday.
Nurse: And cocaine too?
((Thomas Bashore, Police Chief, Nashville, North Carolina))
We've had individuals come through our program. We’ve sent them to detox. They decided at that point they didn't want to follow through with their recovery. They returned to the streets. Return to using again. Return to a life of crime.
((NATS))
Bashore:
Mom’s here.
((Thomas Bashore, Police Chief, Nashville, North Carolina))
Christina left the program after 72 hours. And she signed Against Medical Advise form. We did lose contact with her after that. It’s extremely disappointing when in individual leaves under an AMA because we know that their chances of success to sustain the recovery are close to zero. If she does contact us again, we will help her through the process. I really do hope she makes it.
((NATS))
Mom: That’s part of it, ain’t it?
Christina: Yeah.
*****
((NATS))
K-Mac:
Are we relaxing or are we working here?
K-Mac: Look, Josh. Could you, today when we get out there, could you see that deputy Stewart could get at least in a position that when I call out a vehicle we don't let it get away, like two get away.

((Josh Trull, Sergeant, Nash County Sheriff’s Office))
That's kind of hard when your best vehicle you're out there driving is a Tahoe with a dog kennel in the back.
K-Mac: Yeah but if you get…..
Josh: We kinda got screwed a while back and gave up all our good cars. We had this surveillance and now we're stuck with a whole bunch of Chargers. We're chasing people around in dope (cars). I find this ridiculous.
((Kevin (K-Mac) McLaughlin, Commander, Tar River Drug Task Force))
Okay, can I pass something by y'all? If you see a vehicle approach a known drug residence, exit that vehicle, one passenger run up to this residence, then stay two to three minutes, jump back in the truck, do you need to find traffic violation?
Josh: No. My only question is what's your, what’s your known drug house? How do you know it's a drug house?

((Ronald Stewart, Deputy, Nash County Sheriff’s Office))
That's the thing.
K-Mac: What do mean ‘that’s the thing’?
Josh: I don't know that we've ever stopped recovering live in the house.
K-Mac: Yes we, did we not stalk Cooley that day.
Ronald: Yeah, but we didn't get no dope. We just got a.....

K-Mac: He's a drug dealer.
Josh: Somebody called that car out last time, y'all watched his house.
Ronald: Yeah, it was there last time.
Josh: Somebody said that Blair maintenance truck came and left his house.
K-Mac: Ok.
Josh: I never saw the truck.
K-Mac: You're just adding to the probable cause for K-Mac. OK, y'all just adding.
Josh: Yeah. But you're not my ***** prosecutor though.
K-Mac: You don’t.
Josh: If you were, then I would be charging everybody with everything.
K-Mac: But listen, listen. Don't try the cases out there when you going through it. Use your training and experience. Don't try. Don't say well is this something that the DA's office is going to bless. Do what you think is right based on your training experience and let them worry about that later.
*****
((Thomas Bashore, Police Chief, Nashville, North Carolina))

I'm in favor of the task force. I have an officer that works on that task force as well. But the system doesn't differentiate between someone who has an intention of breaking the law and someone who has a disease.
((NATS))
Bashore: So, Shellie, just tell me why you're here first of all?
((Shellie Inscoe, Arrested by Tar River Drug Task Force)):

I'm here, I have trafficking heroin charges.

Bashore: Okay.
Shellie: Basically, I was in a hotel room. I went to the room to see some friends and, of course, to get high. And I was in there 15 minutes and the police came knocking on the door. And there was a guy in there that had a bunch of drugs. And he like set them on the bed and basically nobody would admit, you know, whose it was, so they charged all of us who were there.
Bashore: Trafficking charges are pretty serious.
Shellie: Yeah.
Bashore: Now when you were using, how many bags were you using a day?
Shellie: When I started IV using, I was doing probably 20 a day, 20 to 30.
((Thomas Bashore, Police Chief, Nashville, North Carolina))

I think I've probably only not been able to help one person that we've gone over to the jail to work with. There’s a few questions that I usually ask individuals where I can get a pretty good gauge of whether or not they're just trying to say the right things and get out of jail, and not follow through with a treatment plan.

((NATS))
Bashore:
And so are you willing to go to a long-term treatment facility?
Shellie: Yes, sir.
Bashore: How long are you willing to go for?
Shellie: Any amount of time. I'm ready to fix my life and you know.
Bashore: Okay. So, most of the places that we recommend individuals to go to are, you know, they are anywhere from six months to two years long.
Shellie: Uh huh.
Bashore: So, you don't have a problem with any of those?
Shellie: No, not at all.
Bashore: Now what kind of family support do you have?
Shellie: None right now.
Bashore: And why is that?
Shellie: Because of the drugs.
Bashore: Okay. Were you lying, stealing?
Shellie: No, I've never stolen anything from my family. Anything like that. They just do not approve of it.
Bashore: Alright. Do they understand the disease itself or they just think it was a choice you made?
Shellie: No. Just a choice.
Bashore: Okay. Do you talk to any of them?
Shellie: No. For the past 10 years, I've had my own place. I've had a car. I've had everything that I always wanted. Up until the past couple of years like I've lost everything. I'm down to nothing now.
Bashore: Okay. Did you have a good relationship?
Shellie: including my family. I have a twin brother. We've always been really close and he wouldn't even speak to me.
Bashore: He won’t even talk to you? Okay. I need you to start working on an autobiography, anywhere from like three to five pages. Talks about your past drug use and then why you want to stop.
Shellie: Okay.
Bashore: In the meantime, I will get some applications for you to fill out for those facilities. And then if you get accepted, then we’ll get a letter from them and then we'll work on through your attorney to try to get your case handled. Usually, I say, usually they can do a couple things. They can defer your charges until you go complete a program, or they can try to get you to plead to a lesser charge. So, not trafficking but, you know, a possession charge and then make it part of your probation that you go and complete a program. So, there's all kinds of options out there but, like I said, I just need to be patient.

Shellie: Okay.
Bashore: Alright?
((Thomas Bashore, Police Chief, Nashville, North Carolina))
Just arresting people and putting them in jail is not going to solve any problems. They're not getting the help that they need in a jail. And then when they get released, they pretty much go back to using again and committing crimes in the community and not getting their lives back into recovery where they need to be.
((NATS))
*****
((NATS))
((Kevin (K-Mac) McLaughlin, Commander, Tar River Drug Task Force))

God love those who have the patience to help. I’m very sympathetic. But I’m a cop and I have a different approach and I have a different job.
((NATS))
K-Mac:
Look right and left ‘cause I think he dipped off this road.
((Kevin (K-Mac) McLaughlin, Commander, Tar River Drug Task Force))
We ride around the streets of Nash County.
((NATS))
Police Radio: Headed back toward Church Street?
((Kevin (K-Mac) McLaughlin, Commander, Tar River Drug Task Force))
What I characterize as aggressive patrol, looking for individuals who, based on characteristics, we pick up on and we are able to tell that they may be about to commit a narcotics violation.
((NATS))
K-Mac:
She made that first left after she got off of Dexter (street).
((Kevin (K-Mac) McLaughlin, Commander, Tar River Drug Task Force))
I noticed a white female driving a Jeep Cherokee. She looked like she was, I would call it trolling the streets to look for dealers that stand out on the street corners.
((NATS))
K-Mac:
Rommik’s got her, Jason come up quick on the front.
((Kevin (K-Mac) McLaughlin, Commander, Tar River Drug Task Force))
One of my guys pulled up behind her vehicle to approach. As he did, he immediately noticed off to the left side of his vehicle that this individual was coming through what we call the cut in between the houses. I felt it was important I go over there and kind of figure out who he was.
((NATS))
K-Mac:
So, Cory,
Cory: Yes Sir.
K-Mac: ***** Street in *****?
Cory: Yes, that is my address now.
K-MAC: Now, are you Cory? Let me see. Before I ask, I wanna look myself. Are you on federal probation?
Cory: Yes sir
((Kevin (K-Mac) McLaughlin, Commander, Tar River Drug Task Force))
I was obviously concerned as to where he had the drugs concealed on him because he came over there to make the transaction and we just drove up too soon.
K-Mac: Open it up, bro. He just swallowed that *****.
Cory: No, I didn’t.
Josh: Probably did.
K-Mac: He had a rocket.
((Kevin (K-Mac) McLaughlin, Commander, Tar River Drug Task Force))
Crack is a beige rock like substance. And it looked like he had some residue on his tongue. And you know I basically told him he'd swallowed it and he denied it. Based off of some other information we received from the female, it was clear without a doubt, unequivocally, that he was about to make a transaction with her.
((NATS))
K-Mac: Man, I was that close.
Josh: Going back.
K-Mac: Going back to federal prison.
Cory: I hear you.
K-Mac: You hear me?
Cory: I hear you.
K-Mac: So I am going to tell you what. I am going to give you a little advice that you probably already know. But if I were you, I wouldn’t be hanging over there on Dexter Street. A man just got killed, not long ago, right? Okay.
K-Mac: You know what they say, catch you later.
Cory: I heard that before.
K-MAC: Get it? Get it?
Suspect: I heard that before.
K-Mac: Get it? Catch you later.
Cory: I’m going to the store. Same thing I was doing before.
K-Mac: I’ll catch you later.
Cory: That never changed.
K-Mac: Alright, Bro.
*****
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Living America’s Opioid Nightmare
continues on VOA Connect in the weeks to come))

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