Route 23 is now known as the “Heroin Highway” for the trafficking of drugs from Paterson to the suburban and rural communities in western New Jersey.
Tariq Zehawi and Danielle Parhizkaran and Svetlana Shkolnikova, North Jersey Record
BERGEN COUNTY, N.J. – More than one and a half tons of cocaine were seized in Newark, the largest cocaine bust at Port Newark in 25 years, authorities said.
On Feb. 28, approximately 1.6 tons of cocaine, with an estimated street value of $77 million, was seized at Port Newark, announced the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, in a statement. The seizure was the result of a joint raid by the CBP, the U.S. Coast Guard, Homeland Security Investigations, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the New York Police Department and the New York State Police.
“This is a significant seizure, in fact it is the largest cocaine seizure at the Port of New York/Newark since May 1994,” said Troy Miller, director of CBP’s New York Field Operations, in the statement. “This interception prevents a massive quantity of drugs from getting to the streets and in the hands of our children.”
CBP turned over the mass shipment of cocaine to Homeland Security Investigations, which will continue to investigate.
The multi-agency effort to seize drugs at ports of entry is meant to intercept drugs before they’re disseminated throughout the country, preventing the drugs from ever reaching the streets. Cocaine, much like heroin, is often cut with fentanyl, a powerful opioid that is up to 100 times stronger than morphine and often causes fatal overdoses.
“Cocaine, New York’s nemesis of the 90’s, is back — indicating traffickers push to build an emerging customer base of users mixing cocaine with fentanyl,” said Ray Donovan, DEA Special Agent in Charge.
The drug bust is the largest at Port Newark this century. In May 1994, more than three tons of cocaine were discovered in cargo at the port, reported The New York Times. CBP agents staked out those drugs, waiting for the shipment to be broken down and distributed. Three men were arrested in July that year.
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