Police say they've seized more than 7,000 bags of heroin, along with ecstasy, crack cocaine and marijuana, in a massive drug bust near a New Jersey high school.
Among the staggering haul from the raid at 217 Park Ave. Tuesday evening, just two blocks from Eastside High School, were 7,600 glassines and 300 grams of heroin; 45 baggies and 80 grams of crack cocaine; more than 400 Ecstasy pills; six baggies containing 200 grams of cocaine; and 45 baggies containing 750 grams of marijuana, according to police.
Despite selling drugs so close to the school, the suspects were more often targeting people from out of town.
"People that might be working in the area, living in the area or even driving several miles to buy drugs," according to Paterson Deputy Police Chief Troy Oswald, who's spent more than a decade working in narcotics.
The nationwide opiod epidemic sees tons and tons of heroins confiscated every year, along with arrests: Passaic County has seen 122 overdose saves so far this year; 48 people have died from overdoses in the county, according to police.
Of the three men arrested in Tuesday's bust, Rafael E. Collazo, 43, of Paterson, is facing the most serious charges in the bust. He's being accused of possessing nearly all the drugs -- including the 7,600 bags of heroin -- with intent to distribute within 1,000 feet of Eastside High. He's also facing charges of maintaining a facility to manufacture the illegal drugs and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Two other men, Edward Infante, 38, of Brooklyn, and William Hodges, 36, of Paterson, were also arrested in the raid and charged with possession of and intent to distribute marijuana.
It wasn't immediately clear if the suspects had attorneys who could comment on their behalf.
"This is a significant raid, which continues to dismantle and disrupt illegal drug sales and the organizations responsible for the distribution," said Paterson Police Director Jerry Speziale.
Despite the arrests, neighbors remained skeptical.
"They pick people off the street and before you know it, they are back out," said Michelle Pichardo.