FORT LEE - Hundreds of alleged heroin users and dealers have been rounded up in a major bust involving more than 50 law enforcement agencies from across North Jersey.
Investigators wrapped up a two-month investigation in Sussex, Morris, Passaic and Bergen counties that resulted in the arrest of 285 people for allegedly using heroin and 40 more accused of dealing it.
Authorities also seized 60,000 bags of heroin, with a street value of $350,000.
Prosecutors say many of those arrested are not from urban areas, but from the suburbs. "This is our latest attempt at bringing light to the fact that this heroin issue is not a Paterson issue," says Passaic County Prosecutor Camelia Valdes. "It's not a city issue. It's an issue that's affecting lives. This is our latest attempt at saving those lives."
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Fort Lee Police Chief Keith Bendul says that the faces of the users and dealers has changed in recent years. "These are people who have advanced to heroin from other drugs because it's cheap, or they've become addicted to pain pills and heroin is the alternative," he says.
During the initiative, police dismantled two heroin mills. They seized 32 guns and $25,000 in cash.