Two illegal immigrants are facing deportation after authorities took down a heroin smuggling operation in Pennsylvania Thursday, seizing nearly $75,000 of the substance.
Authorities in the state received intelligence of a major drug shipment coming into Westmoreland County, Penn., Thursday on Interstate 76, and police patrolling the highway were put on high alert for suspected traffickers. Officers eventually pulled over a Toyota after the driver failed to turn on their headlights while going through a construction zone, reports PIX 11 News.
A K-9 unit was dispatched, which tipped officers off to a box of drugs in the trunk. Investigators found 7,500 stamp bags of heroin estimated to be worth $75,000.
“We believe these two individuals have been moving heroin into southwest Pennsylvania here for a while and (they’re) starting to grow some roots,” Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Steve Limani said Thursday, according to PI 11 News.
Police arrested Jose Miguel Garabito Montilla and Frankely Alonzo Ramos Castanos, who were living in Philadelphia and entered the country illegally from the Dominican Republic. The suspects are in the custody of the Department of Homeland Security but are not cooperating with authorities. Officials said the pair will likely face deportation. (RELATED: Police: Dominican Immigrants Dominate Heroin Trafficking In Boston)
Pennsylvania is suffering from rampant opioid abuse, particularly centered around Philadelphia. Heroin addicts from out of state are actually flocking to Philadelphia because of the reputation of heroin in the city as some of the strongest in the country.
Officials say that the presence of fentanyl, a painkiller roughly 50 to 100 times more powerful than morphine, and other strong chemicals in heroin are causing addicts to purposefully seek it out for abuse.
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