Authorities in New York and New Jersey have arrested 10 people for allegedly operating a heroin mill believed to have been distributing the drug throughout the tri-state area.
A two-month investigation into the suspected drug ring resulted in 10 arrests at the mill in Fort Lee, N.J., and the seizure of five-and-a-half pounds of unprocessed heroin, more than 100,000 user-ready glassine envelopes and about $50,000 in cash.
Agents also seized drug paraphernalia and packaging material, including dozens of stamps used to brand the glassine bags, bearing names like "Spring Break," "Roger Dat," "True Love," and "LeBron James."
Authorities had been monitoring the mill in an investigation into the drug ring suspected of distributing large quantities of heroin throughout the New York metropolitan area and New Jersey, prosecutors said.
Investigators made their move Thursday when they observed a van picking up several of the suspects near their homes in Washington Heights and transporting them across the George Washington Bridge to Fort Lee.
The heroin mill was housed inside a newly constructed two-family home at 461 Grandview Place, a quiet suburban street within 1,000 feet of an elementary school, prosecutors said.
Investigators executed a search warrant at the mill and found a woman stamping brand names on glassine bags at the kitchen table while her preschool-aged daughter sat nearby eating breakfast and watching cartoons on television, according to prosecutors.
The other nine suspects were found packaging heroin in a back room off the garage, where all the equipment for the drug operation was housed. They face multiple drug charges, including possession of heroin and possession of more than five ounces of heroin with intent to distribute:
The woman will be additionally charged with endangering the welfare of a child and maintaining a heroin production facility, said prosecutors.
Bail has been set for two defendants at $250,000 each. Bail for the other eight defendants was set at $150,000.
The next court appearance is scheduled for May 3 in Fort Lee Municipal Court.