Twenty-nine people face federal charges in suburban drug overdoses

PLANO, Texas (AP) — Twenty-nine people have been charged with smuggling and selling heroin and cocaine that led to five overdoses — four of them fatal — in this well-to-do Dallas suburb.
The federal indictment released Wednesday accuses the defendants of conspiring to distribute black tar heroin and cocaine from Mexico to young adults and juveniles in this city of 188,000.
Plano has seen 20 overdoses — 17 of them deadly — since September 1994. The deaths prompted the formation of a task force to investigate.
The suspects range in age from 18 to 38. Most are in their early 20s and were already in custody on state and federal charges. Twenty-four of the defendants could face prison sentences of 20 years to life.
There is no law that allows Texas or federal prosecutors to charge a drug seller with manslaughter or assault if the drugs cause a fatal overdose.