Conn. Fentanyl-Laced Heroin Bust Spotlights Regional OD Epidemic

Adding the drug to heroin can lead to deadly results.

March 13, 2014— -- Five arrests in Connecticut have been linked to a tainted form of heroin responsible for an alarming death toll throughout the Northeast.

Police and federal agents moved in on a residence in Hartford where they seized more than 2,000 glassine bags of heroin laced with the powerful narcotic fentanyl. They also seized marijuana, cash and two cars. The heroin bags were stamped with the names “New World,” “Bingo 9” and “Shine.”

“The Hartford Police Department will continue to work with local, state and federal partners to investigate this matter as well as inform the general public and media in the Hartford Region of the dangers of fentanyl/heroin over doses,” said Deputy Chief Brian Foley.

Juan Baez, Carlos Cardona and Christopher Cardona were charged with federal narcotics trafficking violations. Romanita Gomez and Angel Gonzalez were charged with possession.

The arrests were part of an ongoing investigation that police linked directly to “the increase in regional overdose incidents.”

Earlier this week Attorney General Eric Holder said overdose deaths from heroin constitute “an urgent and growing public health crisis.”

The chief medical examiner in Connecticut said heroin deaths are up 48 percent since 2012. Neighboring states have also seen a spike due to a heroin-fentanyl mix. And for the first time Hartford Police are seizing glassines that contain fentanyl only, a development one source called “scary.”

Fentanyl is often used by cancer patients and generally administered as a lollipop, spray or patch which gives a slow dose through the skin. What police have now learned from this is that fentanyl is being produced in powder form specifically for heroin distribution.

Police also say some users are becoming aware of the fentanyl taint and have told officers they’re cutting back their doses. Even some dealers are advising users to cut back.