PATERSON, N.J., Nov. 21 (UPI) -- The Drug Enforcement Administration and New Jersey's attorney general said Tuesday they have busted a multimillion-dollar heroin ring in the U.S. Northeast.
New Jersey Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa said the drug ring, based in Paterson, used nearly a dozen stash houses and mills to cut and bag potent Colombian "white powder" heroin and then distribute it to criminal organizations in New York, northern New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C., The (Newark) Star-Ledger reported.
"Drug-dealing is at the heart of the crime and violence plaguing Paterson and our other cities, so taking down major drug suppliers like these defendants, who we allege were polluting our communities by distributing millions of dollars in heroin, will have a real impact on public safety and quality of life," Chiesa said.
Brian Crowell, special agent in charge of the DEA's New York Division, said Garcia and his associates imported the heroin directly from Colombia via smuggling networks founded by foreign cartels in the 1990s.
The six-month investigation culminated in a string of raids last week that netted 14 suspects -- including the alleged ringleader, Dominican national Segundo Garcia, 36, of Prospect Park -- as well as 4 kilograms of heroin and almost $250,000 in cash, the newspaper said. Police suspect the drug ring was selling $1 million worth of heroin every week.
Garcia was deported in 2005 after serving more than five years in prison on drug charges. He re-entered the country illegally and could face life in prison.
Chiesa said the investigation is ongoing and could produce more arrests.