by: Allison Latos Updated:
CABARRUS COUNTY, N.C. - A serious warning from police: A new, purer and more potent form of heroin is hitting the Charlotte area.
It's called China White and officers worry it will spread just like black tar heroin, leaving a trail of overdoses and deaths.
At a secret meeting spot, an Eyewitness News crew prepped with officers on an undercover operation they've been working for months involving China White heroin.
“I'm afraid like black tar heroin it's going to slowly spread through the whole county,” said one officer.
With money in hand, the undercover officer met a suspected dealer at a Midland gas station to place his order.
Channel 9 watched as the woman got out of her truck and leaned against the officer’s vehicle, reach inside and then put the cash in her pocket.
She said she had to pick up the heroin and would deliver it later.
Channel 9 trailed her with undercover officers in unmarked cars, as she traveled down Highway 24/27 toward Charlotte.
When she stopped at a fast food restaurant, Channel 9 caught sight of a passenger, who Eyewitness News later learned was her 5-year-old son.
Hours later, the woman returned to the gas station and hopped into the undercover officer’s truck. Channel 9 listened in on a recording device as she told the officer how to cut and package the China White heroin.
Looking to build the case against her, officers held off on making an arrest.
Detectives showed the two and a-half grams they bought, some of it packaged with Batman stickers.
Two days later, detectives planned another China White heroin buy from the same woman.
This time, the undercover officer rode with her to make the purchase. He was able to alert the crews that her son was again with her and so was her friend.
In undercover vehicles, the crew tailed the truck from Midland to uptown Charlotte.
In front of the criminal courthouse, the woman picked up a man that police said is her supplier of heroin.
They drove to north Charlotte, where police said he went inside a house to get the China White heroin.
Police would later search the home with a drug sniffing dog and confiscate about $6,000 in cash.
When the group got to a University City gas station, the undercover officer signaled to detectives they had 5 grams of heroin in hand, enough to pursue felony trafficking charges.
Officers decided it was time to move in.
The little boy didn't see all of this. He and his mother had gone into the store moments before the bust.
As soon as they walked out, officers pulled her aside, searched her bag.
Channel 9 learned the woman is Tammy Hollar, a 31-year-old mother of two. Channel 9 asked about her about dealing and using heroin with son present.
“Yes, I snorted a little bit,” she said. “A little chunk. A little teeny, tiny crumb. I told you I’m dumb right now.”
Hollar told detectives some of the China White heroin belonged to her friend, Samantha Pennington, who officers said was shooting up in the gas station bathroom with a syringe.
The man accused of supplying the drug was 35-year-old Allen Ford.
Channel 9 dug into Ford's criminal past and found multiple arrests on drugs, weapon and assault charges.
Because China White is more powerful than black tar heroin, Cabarrus County Sheriff Brad Riley said it's already proving dangerous.
“I am concerned. I'm very concerned. With overdoses and close calls in our community already,” Riley said.
The sheriff wants to make people realize they can help stop China White heroin from spreading any more.
“They have to keep communicating with us. With their eyes and their ears we are a force multiplier,” Riley said.
Information could be key in getting drugs like China White off the streets and preventing innocent people from getting caught in the middle.
Local, state and even federal agencies worked together in that video you saw.
Hollar is facing several felony charges.
Officers contacted the department of social services about her two children.
© 2017 Cox Media Group.
9 Investigates: Woman with 5-year-old son arrested on drug charges
Parents raise safety concerns about crowded CMS bus
WEDNESDAY: Biggest investigations for prime time ‘9 Investigates' special
‘Moorish Holy Temple' property mistakenly given religious tax exemption,…
9 investigates local stores charging the wrong prices