Accused heroin dealer arrested

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -- 25-year-old Melvin Lamont McIntyre is being held on charges relating to dealing heroin.

McIintyre was arrested at the courthouse while appearing on other pending charges Tuesday.

His arrest highlights the growing popularity of a highly dangerous drug. Prosecutors say they are seeing a growing number of cases involving heroin.

Assistant District Attorney Sheena Gatehouse said when she first started working at the District Attorney's Office in 1998, the big drug problems were ecstasy and cocaine.

Now she says there's been a shift. Heroin use is driving homicides and property crime.

Charlotte recently received a federal grant of more than $200,000 to combat heroin use. Undercover detectives with the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department say the target demographic is young suburbanites with money to spend.

"Charlotte is a hub," said one detective, who cannot be identified for safety reasons.

Gatehouse said current treatment programs for heroin are often unsuccessful in treating the addiction. She says the DA's office is pushing for more intensive treatment programs to help get heroin users out of the crime cycle.

As for McIntyre, he's already a convicted felon on other drug crimes. This was the first time he'd been arrested for heroin.

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