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CHEATHAM COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) – The Cheatham County Sheriff’s Office takes overdose deaths very seriously. Before the crime scene is cold, they begin working feverishly to figure out who sold the deadly drugs. “We work this as a team process,” said Lt. Ken Miller.

When a suspect dies of a suspected drug overdose in Cheatham County, detectives secure the scene and all crucial evidence. “We start processing evidence, we test it, get it sent off,” said Miller.

At the same time, narcotics units investigate who supplied the lethal dope. “They work the informants, they work the streets,” Miller added.

In recent years, Cheatham County law officers have successfully prosecuted multiple dealers for 2nd-degree murder. Agents say it’s a time-consuming investigation, “There’s a lot of resources involved, search warrants, a lot of manpower. You don’t work these in a few hours, usually they take weeks, months, sometimes even longer,” said Lt. Shannon Heflin, Cheatham County Narcotics Officer.

In a 2017 case, Cheatham drug officers used toxicology and phone records to link Christopher Stefko to the fentanyl that killed a 30-year-old man. Within 24 hours of that case, officials had him in custody. Stefko is currently serving an eight-year prison sentence for 2nd-degree murder.

Lt. Shannon Heflin says his officers work tirelessly for their satisfaction and the families. “The thing that tugs at me the most. When we have a fatal heroin overdose, the victim’s families, are always the same, they have struggled with addiction throughout their loved ones’ lives, they’ve been to rehab, they have lived this with them. Once they pass away, they still carry that burden. You see the pain. Drug addiction, it doesn’t discriminate. It affects all walks of life. Doesn’t matter how you were raised, if you try it, especially with heroin and fentanyl, it is going to get you.”

Cheatham County drug agents have recently announced they will also charge the dealers with aggravated assault with recklessness, a Class E felony, in cases where people overdose but do not die.