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      Overdose deaths leads to 31 arrests in Antrim County

      After a nearly four and a half year long investigation, 31 people have been arrested and convicted for a wide range of crimes in Antrim County. Authorities are talking about this sweeping investigation for the first time.

      Antrim County saw five overdose deaths from December 2008 to November 2009, and authorities wanted to get to the bottom of the issue.

      â??You're talking a county of 25,000 people and... if it were a disease it would've been considered on epidemic,â?? said Jim Rossiter, Antrim County Prosecutor.

      Drug overdose deaths have taken a toll on families throughout Antrim County.

      â??Who knows how many other families have simply been ripped apart because of parents that are addicted... they can't care for their children.â??

      Wednesday's news conference revealed the names and faces of people taken off the streets for crimes ranging from drugs to home invasion. The investigation was a joint effort between the Antrim County Prosecutor and Sheriff's Office, Michigan State Police and Traverse Area Narcotics Team.

      â??There's a certain sense of satisfaction of being able to make some progress in a serious problem in the community, but it also raises a lot of bad issues of what's going on out there that a lot of people aren't aware of.â??

      Because this investigation has been ongoing for nearly four and a half years, some people have already served their time in jail. Authorities are hoping this investigation will put a crack in Antrim County's circle of crime.

      â??The benefit for a small town like Central Lake is that obviously we don't have the resources and probably just a small part of the pie, but when you put everything together, specifically with the investigative subpoenas, it kinda helps for lack of a better word get a bigger bang for the buck,â?? said Central Lake Police Department Chief Scott Barrett.

      Authorities are using this opportunity to send a stern message to the community.

      â??Even the passage of time doesn't necessarily insulate you from prosecution,â?? said Rossiter.

      Prosecutor Rossiter said the people arrested came from all walks of life, including 45-year-old defense attorney John Waters. He was charged with delivering drugs to one of his clients in the Antrim County Jail.