HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – Horry County Solicitor Jimmy Richardson warns the heroin circulating in Horry County now is more dangerous than ever.
"This heroin is not black or white, or rich or poor, or man or woman. It cuts across all facets," Richardson said. "The way we know is that the heroin we are finding and buying is almost 100 percent pure."
Richardson said the heroin is so pure, it's killing people.
"If your heroin has been stepped on two or three times, it's not as likely to kill you than something that's a lot purer," Richardson said. "And that pure stuff has been killing them left and right."
That heroin, the solicitor explained, is coming from Mexico, where even its manufacturing has increased tenfold, and then traveling to New York and New Jersey. Eventually, it comes back down Interstate 95 to Horry County.
According to county crime statistics, Horry County has seen a substantial increase in heroin-related crimes over the last few years, jumping from 249 in 2010 to 546 in 2015.
Recently, though, there has been a break.
Richardson said following a series of arrests several weeks ago, there has only been one overdose. Before that, he added, the coroner's office was working two a week.
"So that's pretty substantial for an area our size," Richardson said.
These numbers, Richardson continued, show just how beneficial it is to get dealers off the street.
"You can see 30 to 40 drug sales during a three- or four-hour period by the same people," he said.
While heroin trafficking sentences are comparable to those of individuals convicted of murder, Richardson stood by those consequences.
"For those complaining about it, go talk to a mother that may have not dealt with an overdose yet, but has had everything she's got stolen because her son is stealing it or her daughter is stealing it," he said.
Richardson is working with the Drug Enforcement Unit to speak with younger generations about prevention, and launching a new overdose procedure aimed at finding those who sell the deadly doses. He has appointed two solicitors and U.S. attorneys to take these cases to the federal level.
This is all because Richardson is so sure heroin not only kills people and breaks families, but it's the backbone of a growing crime issue in Horry County.
"If we can just temper the heroin and get rid of that, you would see all of the other crimes substantially go down also," Richardson said.