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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Local officials announce crackdown on heroin dealers


    Two, possibly three, fatal heroin overdoses this month, plus numerous non-fatal overdoses from heroin and prescription pain pills prompted top local law enforcement officials to announce today that heroin dealers are now a top priority.

    Every time an individual overdoses on heroin or illegally obtained prescription opiates, the incident will now be treated as a crime scene and if the drug dealer can be identified, federal authorities will issue charges that could bring up to 20 years in prison.

    Buffalo Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda, U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr. and Dale M. Kasprzyk, resident agent in charge of the Buffalo office of the Drug Enforcement Administration, held a news conference to put dealers on notice and warn those using heroin that what they are purchasing may be laced with deadly fillers.

    Besides the rash of fatal overdoses, the officials cited more than 40 opiate-related overdoses in January, where individuals were taken to Erie County Medical Center and received life-saving treatment.

    “”Using these bags of heroin is almost the same as shooting yourself with a gun and if you are providing these bags of heroin, it is the same as pulling the trigger,”” Hochul said in explaining why dealers will face increased penalties.

    Kasprzyk explained that more people are buying heroin because they cannot afford the more expensive prescription opiates that often spawned their addiction.

    Derenda and Deputy Police Commissioner Charles H. Tomaszewski welcomed the federal attention to the problem. Before joining the police force, Tomaszewski was the agent in charge of the DEA’s Buffalo office.

    “”We’re seeing a lot of young suburbanites coming into the city and buying heroin,”” Derenda said. He added that there’s a good chance these addicts are doing business with dangerous gang members, “”who are cutting the heroin with God knows what.””

    Increased overdoses from heroin, Hochul said, is a trend occurring not only here but in other parts of the country.

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