Officials Target New Jersey’s Burgeoning Heroin Market as Heroin Mills Rise in Bergen County Suburbs
By Travis Tormey posted in Drug Charges on Tuesday, December 24, 2013
Following a recent rise in heroin production and distribution in New Jersey, authorities are targeting production centers, particularly heroin mills that have sprung up in suburban areas in Bergen County including Ridgefield Park, Fort Lee, and Maywood.
These production plants are typically erected in rented residences in the suburbs, eliciting little suspicion from outsiders or law enforcement. They have become more common as the rate of individuals from middle-class New Jersey who are addicted to heroin continues to increase. In fact, it is only in recent years that North Jersey law enforcement officials have shifted their attention from cocaine to heroin.
Often operating on a 24-hour basis, the heroin market has become exceedingly profitable for those at various levels of the supply chain. Those who work at the ground-level of production can earn up to $500 per day, according to Lawrence Williams, a high ranking official in the anti-drug unit for Northern New Jersey. In addition, an individual who operates a heroin mill can earn between $40,000 and $60,000 for each kilogram of heroin in which he or she invests, while the owner of a heroin mill can expect to earn approximately $100,000 per week if the mill produces an average of 2,000 bricks during that time.
According to New Jersey law enforcement officials, the heroin mill is the critical site at which they can break the chain of heroin flow, as it is the point at which the raw product supplied by drug cartels intersects with distributors at the local level. It is also the location where much of the heroin and money involved in the market can be seized by authorities during a raid once a mill is identified.
However, finding these heroin mills is an extremely difficult process, involving a myriad of players who must work together to accomplish their ultimate goal in taking down a production site. The New Jersey State Police, agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration, detectives from Bergen and Passaic counties, and at times, authorities from other states, must collaborate in these investigations, which are often weeks or months in the making.
Overall, it may now be more likely to find police scouring the suburbs of Bergen County than searching for street-level dealers in the neighborhoods of Paterson, New Jersey, as they attempt to target the new centers of regional heroin production.
See our next post, which details the various offenses associated with heroin production and the potential penalties for these offenses.
For more information, access the following article: Inside N.J.’s suburban drug mills, a grimy, lucrative business