Narcotics Agents Dismantle Fentanyl Operation, Seize Drug Bags Labeled ‘Death’

REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov

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Steve Birr Vice Reporter
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Narcotics agents in New York City dismantled a massive narcotics operation pushing heroin and fentanyl on the city in baggies labeled “death” and “heartless.”

Authorities raided an apartment in the Bronx Wednesday night, arresting five men and seizing an estimated $7.5 million worth of heroin and fentanyl, a synthetic opioid roughly 50 to 100 times more powerful than morphine. The joint operation involved officers with the New York Drug Enforcement Task Force (NYDETF) Group T-12 and the Special Narcotics Prosecutor’s (SNP) Investigators Unit, reported NBC New York.

During their search of what officials describe as a “packaging mill,” officers found 11 kilograms of narcotics in a duffel bag, 10 kilograms hidden inside a wall and 230 grams wrapped in green plastic inside a dresser. They also found three scales, 300 rolls of tape, 16 tape dispensers, 12 electric coffee grinders and three large boxes containing hundreds of glassine envelopes. (RELATED: Study: States Might Be Undercounting Opioid Deaths By As Much As 70,000)

The envelopes were individually stamped with various names including “Death,” “Heartless,” “Dexter,” “100%,” “Super High” and “UPS.”

Police arrested 46-year-old Luis Guzman-Rojas, 37-year-old Matias Rosario-Ramon, 29-year-old Anthony Polanco, 28-year-old Willy De La Cruz and 26-year-old Pedro Sandoval, who face charges including criminal possession of a controlled substance.

Data released by officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on July 11 shows the majority of opioid-linked deaths are now the result of synthetic opioids like fentanyl.

The report shows synthetic opioids killed roughly 27,000 people across the U.S. over the 12-month period ending November 2017, up from roughly 19,413 lives in 2016 and 9,580 lives in 2015. The sharp increase prompted a Health Alert Network warning from CDC officials advising of the ever-increasing presence of synthetic opioids in the drug supply, including in non-opioid narcotics such as cocaine.

Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of accidental death for Americans younger than 50, killing more than 64,000 people in 2016.

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