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Heroin Trade on the Rise in New York, Alarming Law Enforcement Officials

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Law enforcement officials in New York City say the heroin trade there is surging to the highest level seen in more than 20 years. The city has become a hub for the heroin market along the East Coast, The New York Times reports.

The city’s special narcotics prosecutor says the amount of heroin seized in investigations so far this year has already surpassed the total amount seized in 2013. Officials have not confiscated so much heroin since 1991, the article notes.

The heroin originates in Mexico. It is sold in New York to users all along the East Coast, in glassine envelopes costing between $6 and $10. Law enforcement officials say drug organizations are meeting the growing demand for heroin by setting up increasingly large and sophisticated operations in New York.

About one-third of heroin seized by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) nationwide since October was found in New York State. In previous years, New York heroin seizures have accounted for about one-fifth of the total.

“We’re kind of the head of the Hydra,” said Bridget G. Brennan, a special narcotics prosecutor. “This is highly organized, high volume, and it’s being moved much more efficiently and effectively to reach out to a broader user base.” She is scheduled to testify about heroin trends during a City Council budget hearing today.

“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 DEA’s New York office. “In my time, we’ve never seen the amount of large heroin seizures like this.”

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