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In the News: Investigation into Deadly Fentanyl-Laced Heroin Leads to Arrests

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The labels on the bags of heroin were – Bingo 9, New World and Shine. Hartford police have been working with federal agents to track down those liable for dispensing the fentanyl-laced heroin. Brian Foley, a Hartford Deputy Police Chief, took the uncommon step of cautioning heroin users about the heroin labeled New World (which contained fentanyl) last month. “It’s a significant amount,” Foley stated of the heroin detained Wednesday. But, he added, “I certainly don’t think it’s enough to drastically affect distribution in Hartford.”

Foley stated that the heroin in custody tested positive for fentanyl. “We believe it’s behind a lot of the overdoses,” Foley said. Police said their research is ongoing. 40-year-old Juan Antonio Baez, 29-year-old Christopher Cardona and 27-year-old Carlos Cardona were arrested on state narcotic trafficking charges. They appeared in federal court Wednesday and are in custody awaiting a detention hearing Monday. 40-year-old Romanita Gomez was arrested and charged with possession of narcotics and possession of narcotics with intent to sell. 27-year-old Angel Gonzalez was arrested and charged with possession of marijuana and possession of marijuana with intent to sell.

According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, Fentanyl is a man-made opiate that is more potent than morphine. It can cause respiratory arrest when used in street drugs. In total, unintentional heroin deaths in Connecticut were up 48% from 2012. According to data released by Chief Medical Examiner James R. Gill, 257 people died in Connecticut from heroin associated overdoses in 2013, which is up from 174 in 2012. In Hartford County, heroin overdose deaths enlarged 55% over the same period, to 82 in 2013 from 53 in 2012. Foley stated “We’ve had a large increase in overdoses in Hartford in 2013 and it looks to continue in 2014.”

Foley stated that in addition to discovering heroin mixed with fentanyl, police have also discovered bags on the street that have just fentanyl in them. Along with trying to track down those who are responsible, police are also continuing to get the word to heroin users to be cautious. “We’re urging the user population to be extremely careful,” he stated. “We already have informants telling us they’ve seen the media reports and they’re being careful.”

In my opinion, I think it’s great that the police are actually attempting to warn heroin users and let them know there is dangerous and possibly lethal heroin out there. People are overdosing left and right from the combination of heroin and fentanyl, but like most addicts – we don’t care. We just want to get high, no matter what you say the consequence is. In an addicts mind, if you say it can kill them, all they are thinking is how high it’s going to get them. I know when I was in active addiction I thought I was invincible and could never die. The sad truth is that a lot of addicts are dying and thankfully they’re trying to make drug users more aware of what’s going on. If you or a loved one are struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll free 1-800-951-6135.


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