Monroe County, Philadelphia Break up Heroin Drug Ring
In total, 14 people, including 3 from Philadelphia and 11 from Monroe county have been charged with involvement in a large heroin drug ring.
A reported 22,700 bags were seized in Rochester, NY – that’s more than 2014 and 2015 combined. Also seized in both Pennsylvania and Rochester were over $93,000 in case and 9 firearms. The Rochester-based drug ring was estimated to be distributing more than $50,000 per week in heroin.
The operation was based out of Philadelphia. Twelve defendants are currently in custody, held without bail. Charges include intent to distribute, controlled substance distribution, conspiracy and attempt to possess with intent to distribute, use of a communication facility to further a controlled substance felony, money laundering, and possession of a firearm to further drug trafficking.
The multi-agency investigation began in October of last years. Due to the large quantities of heroin involved, defendants are facing a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison.
More About the Drug Ring Bust
According to Assistant U.S. Attorney Douglas Gregory, this was the third investigation conducted by his office in the past 6 months involving Philadelphia are a major source of heroin. An eavesdropping warrant ultimately led to 34 additional wiretap warrants on multiple phones. Suspects were reportedly open in their communication and provided details.
Over a dozen search warrants were executed throughout the investigation. Beginning the first week of March, many warrants were executed by investigators to seize money, guns, and evidence, along with heroin,. The first warrant garnered over 7,500 decks of heroin from an abandoned apartment.
Numerous agencies were involved in the investigation, including The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Drug Enforcement Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Rochester Police Department, Monroe County District Attorney’s Office, Greater Rochester Area Narcotics Enforcement Team, and the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision.
What’s Next for Pennsylvania?
In 2015, 84 people died from heroin-related overdoses in Monroe County. And authorities expect more major seizures in the near future.
Accidental drug overdose fatalities among white persons, women, and people aged 35-44 are much higher and rising faster in Pennsylvania than the national average. Moreover, research analysis at the University of Pittsburgh revealed that in recent years, the state’s overdose fatality rates exceeded the national average by over 50%.
For example, the National Center for Health Statistics report that from 1979-2014, U.S. death rates increased 6 times over. However, in Pennsylvania, overdose deaths increased by 14-fold. White and female fatalities increased 16 and 17 times, respectively.
Indeed, drug overdose deaths are increasing among younger people and whites in the suburbs, due to the availability of prescription pain medications, such as OxyContin. And women are more likely to prescribed these drugs for pain.
~ G. Nathalee Serrels, M.A., Psychology
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