A NYC heroin bust conducted jointly by the NYPD and DEA this past week is the biggest of 2014 thus far, netting 53 pounds of the illicit drug worth roughly $11 million.
Officials said the heroin was seized from two Bronx apartments, a storage facility, and a number of cars used to transport the drugs, NBC reported
. Other drugs, guns, and cash were also seized along with the heroin.
Edualin Tapia, 28, and Guillermo Esteban Margarin, 33, were arrested while they were driving the drugs to Connecticut in open boxes, while suspects at the Hartford, Connecticut, apartment where the men were headed tried to pour heroin down the sink during a raid, NBC noted.
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New York Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget Brennan said the bust cut into "a pipeline moving huge amounts of heroin from New York City to the Northeast."
"These seizures and arrests demonstrate that NYC is ground zero of heroin distribution networks supplying the Northeast, as well as being the prime market Mexican drug traffickers are using to earn profit from the sale of poison," said DEA Acting Special Agent in Charge James Hunt.
The New York Times reported
that amount of heroin seized so far this year in New York already surpasses last year's total, and is higher than any year dating back to 1991.
"We’re kind of the head of the Hydra," Bridget G. Brennan, the state's special narcotics prosecutor, told the newspaper.
She said the bulk of the product comes from Mexico's Sinaloa cartel along established cocaine and marijuana routes, and that this year's arrest of cartel leader Joaquín Guzmán Loera, also known as El Chapo, doesn't seem to have slowed the organization down at all.
Heroin use has risen nationwide in recent years, and the deaths of high-profile individuals who've overdosed, such as Philip Seymour Hoffman and Peaches Geldof, have helped bring attention to the epidemic.
"It’s cheap, it’s potent, and there’s a user demand here right now and they're flooding the market," said James J. Hunt, head of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New York office. "In my time, we’ve never seen the amount of large heroin seizures like this."
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