Drug Enforcement Administration

New York

Acting Special Agent in Charge Keith Kruskall , Special Agent in Charge

February 07, 2016

Contact: Erin Mulvey

Phone Number: (212) 337-3900

Drug Law Enforcement Kicking Off The New Year With Record Breaking Heroin Seizures

Drug traffickers are using NYC as heroin hub

NEW YORK - This past December, the Center for Disease (CDC) published a special report on drug overdoses both nationwide and on state levels in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.  The statistics presented in that report support what we are currently experiencing; heroin is the biggest threat to public health in the Northeast.  

More than half of all drug overdose deaths nationwide were caused by opioids in 2014.  DEA New York Division seized one third of all heroin seized nationally by DEA, proving that the drug traffickers are targeting New York.  Four Northeast states including New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania all experienced statistically significant change in drug overdose death rates from 2013-2014: New Hampshire’s drug overdose rate increased 73.5%, Massachusetts’ increased 18.8%,  Pennsylvania’s increased 12.9% and Maine’s increased 27.3%.  This data indicates that the heroin traffickers are using New York State’s thruways as drug pipelines linking heroin mills in New York City to street level drug dealers throughout New York State and the Northeast to feed opiate addiction. 

DEA and our law enforcement partners have prioritized resources to identify, investigate, dismantle and prosecute drug traffickers responsible for pushing poison throughout our cities.  Last year, 14 heroin mills were dismantled, 879 kilograms of (a 155% increase since 2013) were seized and 898 people were arrested by DEA and our law enforcement partners in New York state.  James J. Hunt, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement (DEA) New York Division would like to thank DEA’s law enforcement partners for their assistance in dismantling and prosecuting heroin trafficking organizations at all levels who are responsible for fueling opioid abuse. 

DEA Special Agent in Charge James J. Hunt stated, “Opioid abuse has ravaged communities nationwide and hit the Northeast like a tidal wave, from Maine to Montauk.  New York drug law enforcement has pooled and readied resources for battle on the front lines against drug traffickers who are using New York City as a heroin warehouse.  The past two large seizures have sent the traffickers a message by denying them what they most want - $23 million in illicit profit.  While we continue to enforce drug laws, we will strive to increase awareness of the dangers of opioid abuse throughout our communities. 

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York stated, “Heroin and opioid abuse is on the rise, but so are law enforcement’s efforts in New York.  Because heroin and opioid overdose deaths are reaching unprecedented levels, we have redoubled our commitment to keeping drug dealers - and the poison they peddle - off our street.  Last year alone, our Office charged nearly 250 defendants with distributing and conspiring to distribute heroin, taking nearly a quarter of a ton of heroin off the streets of our communities.  Our Office has also focused on the prosecution of dirty doctors, pharmacists and others who illegally divert prescription painkillers, a gateway to heroin addiction.  We remain steadfast in our commitment to confront this epidemic of drug abuse that is affecting so many New Yorkers.”

Bridget G. Brennan, New York City's Special Narcotics Prosecutor stated, "As a specialized prosecutors' office focused on narcotics investigations in New York City, we have been stunned to see the volume of heroin entering our region grow exponentially in recent years. Mexican cartels and local trafficking groups reap hundreds of millions of dollars in profits off the epidemic of opioid abuse and overdose deaths. Working in conjunction with the DEA and our other law enforcement partners, we continually intercept huge loads of heroin and thereby prevent this deadly drug from further flooding our region. While a public health response is essential, we must remember the profoundly critical role law enforcement plays in addressing this crisis. No one approach can succeed alone."
 
“In just the last few weeks almost 80 kilograms of heroin was seized locally, which is a clear indication of the scope of the opioid addiction problem in the New York area," said Police Commissioner William J Bratton. "What we are dealing with involves issues of supply and demand. The NYPD continues to work closely with our federal and state law-enforcement partners in confronting the supply side. But this growing problem must be effectively addressed on all fronts."

New York State Police Superintendent Joseph A. D’Amico said, “The New York State Police are dedicated to making our streets safer for New Yorkers and all who visit our great state. A drug like heroin destroys and puts lives at risk. Our Troopers see first-hand, the devastating effects of opiates on individuals and families. We will continue to make it a priority to find, then dismantle, these dangerous and deadly operations. I commend the recent work of the Task Force and our law enforcement partners in taking down NY/NJ rings, and seizing these drugs before they reached our communities.”
Just this week, the DEA’s New York Drug Enforcement Task (NYDETF) and the New Jersey State Police, Trafficking North Unit seized 31 kilograms of heroin in Secaucus, NJ before it could be cut, stepped on and packaged into a million ready-for-street distribution glassines.  The NYDETF comprises agents and officers of the DEA, New York City Police Department and the New York State Police. 

Last week, the NYDETF and investigators from the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor seized 48 kilograms of heroin which had been concealed in the axle and drive shaft casings of vehicle parts being transported on the bed of a pick up truck in Queens, NY.    

Since January, DEA New York and our law enforcement partners have seized 148 kilograms of heroin that was destined for New York and the Northeast.   148 kilograms is approximately twice the amount of heroin that was seized throughout the entire Fiscal Year of 2009.  We will continue to focus our resources on identifying heroin trafficking organizations on a federal, state, local and international level in order to address this public health crisis. 

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