Lawmakers look to get harsher punishments for heroin dealers in Indiana

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INDIANAPOLIS (WLFI) — Harsher punishments for heroin dealers could be coming to Indiana if approved by the House of Representatives.

Senate Bill 324 allows the state to add weights from several purchases of heroin over a 90-day period.

Under current law, it doesn’t matter how many times an undercover cop buys from the dealer, prosecutors can only charge that dealer for the amount of heroin they bought in one of the purchases.

For example, if a cop bought two grams of heroin on five separate occasions, that dealer would only be charged for selling two grams instead of the 10 grams the officer ended up receiving from that individual within 90 days.

If this bill passes, it would mean prosecutors can charge heroin dealers with higher level felonies, resulting in prison.

Tippecanoe County Prosecutor Patrick Harrington testified in favor of the bill on Wednesday.

According to Harrington, since 2014, 40 percent of drug dealers convicted in the state never spent one day in prison.

“These dealers, they’re business people,” Harrington said. “They’re going to understand what’s going on in Indiana, and we are hoping to make it more uncomfortable for them to come to Indiana and deal heroin. They can find another state that maybe doesn’t do this.”

Harrington said the heroin issue needs tackled from both sides.

“We need to lessen the supply of heroin, which will then lessen the number of addicts,” he said. The addicts we have [now], we need to increase the number of counselors and treatment facilities. We have to give them a chance at a productive lifestyle.”

The bill has already passed through the Senate and was approved by the House Courts and Criminal Code committee Wednesday.

It now heads to the House floor.