Oro Valley police officers last Wednesday arrested two men for possession of heroin with intent to distribute and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony.

Officers followed one of the men to an apartment near Orange Grove and Oracle roads, where they believed he was headed to meet with his drug dealer.

Police later arrest the men, identified as Robert A. Cavanaugh, 21, and Adam W. Stokes, 22, and later obtained a search warrant for the apartment.

Once inside the apartment belonging to Cavanaugh, officers confiscated 44 grams of heroin and two firearms — a loaded semi-automatic pistol, and a loaded AR-15 semi-automatic rifle with numerous ammunition magazines.

The arrests were part of an ongoing effort in Oro Valley to root out heroin, especially where associated with area students.

Last August, two Northwest teens — one a Canyon Del Oro High School student and the second a former CDO student — died from methadone overdoses. In March, a 17-year-old CDO student died from a drug overdose. Investigators said at the time that the youth had been using heroin and likely died from an overdose.

Heroin use appears to have grown among Northwest drug users.

In 2007, Oro Valley police confiscated about 27 grams of the drug. By 2008, that figure had risen to 97 grams.

To date in 2009, officers have taken more than 165 grams of heroin off the streets.

A quarterly narcotic arrest report study conducted by Oro Valley police analysts called heroin the "second drug of choice," noting it accounted for nearly a quarter of the department's drug arrests.

Local police made 70 percent of drug arrests within town limits; the remaining arrests were made in other jurisdictions.

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