Eight men from Louisiana and three from California were indicted by a federal grand jury following a year-long investigation into the trafficking of heroin and other illegal drugs into the Baton Rouge area.

The indictment alleges that, among other things, significant amounts of heroin had been pressed to resemble oxycodone pills in California before being shipped to Baton Rouge. Pills were then distributed to mid-level drug dealers before being sold in East Baton Rouge and Livingston parishes, a release from U.S. Attorney Walt Green says.

“Heroin has become an epidemic in our communities and identifies with no specific demographic or socio-economic class,” said Eric Watson, acting assistant special agent-in-charge of the New Orleans division of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. “It is poisoning our neighborhoods and contaminating our schools, which causes terrible harm to the quality of life in any community. DEA is committed to aggressively attacking criminals who target the weak and addicted with their parasitic drug-trafficking methods.”

Green noted that East Baton Rouge Parish has had more heroin overdose deaths this year than ever before.

“These deaths impact families and communities and are the direct result of heroin being introduced and trafficked in the Greater Baton Rouge area,” he said.

Those indicted from Baton Rouge and Denham Springs:

Aaron Lambert, 32, of Baton Rouge, conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute more than 1 kilogram of heroin, distribution of heroin on three separate occasions, laundering drug proceeds and forfeiture.

Brian Keith Hano, Jr., 32, of Baton Rouge, conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute more than 1 kilogram of heroin and forfeiture.

Justin Scott, 32, of Baton Rouge, conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute more than 100 grams of heroin, distribution of heroin on three separate occasions, possession with intent to distribute heroin, distribution of tramadol and forfeiture.

Daryl Walker, 42, of Baton Rouge, conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute more than 100 grams of heroin, possession with intent to distribute heroin and forfeiture.

Keenan Harris, Jr., 35, of Denham Springs, conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute heroin, distribution of heroin on two separate occasions and forfeiture.

Christopher Dean, 35, of Denham Springs, conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute heroin and forfeiture.

Christian Becnel, 32, of Denham Springs, conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute heroin, distribution of heroin and forfeiture.

Randall Pendarvis, 33, of Denham Springs, distribution of tramadol and forfeiture.

Those from California who were indicted: Michael Almanza, 44, of Costa Mesa; Logan Brannon, 30, of Newport Beach; and Efrain Barajas, 26, of Hesperia.

The ongoing investigation is being conducted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the DEA with assistance from Louisiana State Police, the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office and the Baton Rouge Police Department.

The matter is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Paul L. Pugliese.