In the first quarter of 2015, the DEA alone has already taken nearly 220 pounds of smack off the streets — equaling the amount they seized in all of 2014. The office of the special narcotics prosecutor has seized an additional 120 pounds of heroin this year.
“We’ve never seen these numbers, not even in the heroin epidemics from 30 to 40 years ago,” said James Hunt, special agent in charge of the DEA’s New York Field Division.
Mexican cartels smuggle the heroin into New York. Once in the city, the drugs are moved to heroin mills where they are broken down and packaged in glassine envelopes stamped with street names like “X-Men,” “Google,” “Homerun,” “Homicida” and — one of the newest names on the market — “First Lady,” honoring Michelle Obama. The heroin is then shipped to sellers throughout the five boroughs, Long Island and upstate New York, Hunt said.
The drug mills brazenly operate out of innocuous residential homes in the Bronx and northern Manhattan, officials said. In one recent incident, a mill was operating alongside an FDNY firehouse, Brennan said.
The Colombian heroin currently trafficked by the Mexican cartels is 60% to 70% pure, so people can feel the high without shooting dope into their veins, Brennan said.
Doses of heroin in the 1970s were only about 10% pure.