More than three pounds of heroin were seized during a joint investigation that led to the arrests of three suspected local drug dealers Friday night, authorities said Monday.

Agents from the Terrebonne Narcotics Task Force and federal Drug Enforcement Agency learned several weeks ago that a major heroin transaction was going to occur at a local hotel Friday, according to the parish Sheriff’s Office,

After conducting surveillance of the transaction while it was in progress, narcotics agents swept in and took three suspects from Terrebonne Parish into custody without incident, deputies said.

Following the arrests, authorities seized 3.5 pounds of suspected heroin with an estimated street value of $226,796, the Sheriff’s Office said.

Agents arrested Tyree Gray, 22, of 211 St. Milo St., Houma; James Darnell Diggs III, 21, of 2699 Express Blvd., Ashland, and Corey Lewis, 35, of 6422 Alma St., Houma.

Each suspect is charged with distribution of heroin, according to the Sheriff's Office. Lewis was additionally charged with failing to appear in court.

Although the heroin operation was taken down without incident, it represents a drop in the bucket when it comes to the parish’s overall drug problem, Sheriff Jerry Larpenter said.

“We try to stay a step ahead, but the problem is that drugs are all over the world,” Larpenter said. “It’s a shame so many people are losing their lives over it. It’s alarming, it really is. Drug dealers don’t care if their clients die or not because they always can get more. That’s what’s wrong with giving lighter sentences to these drug dealers.”

Terrebonne Parish has had 48 fatal drug overdoses in 2017, Larpenter said. He predicts there will be 50 by the end of the year.

“Drug dealers are killing more people than shootings, I can tell you that,” Larpenter said. “In one year more people die of drug overdoses in America than they do in 10 years of fighting in Vietnam.”

All three suspects were transported to the Terrebonne Parish jail. Diggs and Gray are each being held on a $75,000 bond. Lewis’ bond was set at $80,000.

Due to additional investigations being conducted, the Sheriff’s Office is withholding the name and location of the hotel, Capt. Kody Voisin said. Additional arrests may be pending.

-- Staff Writer Dan Copp can be reached at 857-2202 or at Follow him on Twitter@DanVCopp.