DEA, Dominicans has Stronghold on Heroin and Fentanyl Distribution in USA Massachusetts saw the second-highest number of seizures and arrests connected to fentanyl, the dangerously powerful synthetic opioid increasingly mixed with street heroin.

The fact appears in the Drug Enforcement Agency's 2017 National Drug Threat Assessment, released this week. 

DEA reports 3,911 law enforcement reports concerning fentanyl in Massachusetts in 2016. The state ranked second only to Ohio -- which had 7,971 -- and ahead of Pennsylvania's 2,355.

No doubt related in part to the prevalence of fentanyl, Massachusetts also had the fourth-highest overdose death rate of any state in the nation, behind Ohio, Connecticut and West Virginia. 

And the deaths show no signs of subsiding, according writers of the federal drug report.

"This combination will most likely lead to an increase in opioid deaths in the near term," the report states.

Mexico and China both manufacture illicit fentanyl, according to the report, and the vast majority quantities of the drug found in Massachusetts and the rest of the country source back to this illegal production. 

"The relatively small-scale quantities of licit fentanyl being diverted compared to kilogram seizures of illicitly produced fentanyl, indicates illicitly-produced fentanyl is responsible for the current fentanyl epidemic in the United States," says the report.

Specifically mentioned in the report is a significant fentanyl and heroin milling operation federal, state and local authorities broke up in Lawrence in April. 

"Heroin-related deaths will continue at high levels in the near term," they write. "The heroin available in white powder markets in the United States is very high-purity. Increasing poppy cultivation in Mexico, the primary supplier of U.S. heroin markets, ensures it will remain high-purity."

Heroin and fentanyl markets have become increasingly intertwined in the U.S., "with heroin supplies in white powder markets increasingly laced with highly-potent fentanyl."

"At the mill, heroin and fentanyl were being mixed together and pressed into cylinders for midlevel sale, a common heroin packaging technique," says the report. "The milling equipment was small and portable, able to be carried in a suitcase. The individuals working at the milling operation used personal protective equipment, such as latex gloves and masks."

The report says most heroin and fentanyl dealing along the Interstate 95 corridor area of the Northeast is handled by Dominican transnational crime organizations.

"Illegal drugs destined for Dominican (transnational crime organizations) in the Northeast primarily arrive first in New York City, where the drugs are distributed throughout the greater metropolitan area, or routed to secondary hubs and retail markets across the Northeast and parts of the mid-Atlantic region," it says. "Dominican TCOs work in collaboration with numerous foreign suppliers to have heroin and cocaine shipped directly to the Northeast from Mexico, Colombia, and the Dominican Republic."

Go back | Date: 30 Oct 2017
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