95 Arrested in Long Island Drug Sweep

Almost 100 people have been arrested on various drug charges in a suburban New York community struggling with a heroin epidemic that came to light last summer with the death of a high school senior.

Nassau County Police announced charges Wednesday against 95 people accused of various crimes connected to the sale and distribution of heroin, as well as other drugs. Some of the $5 glassine envelopes of heroin were marketed as “Obama Heroin,'' authorities said.

Arrests were also made for other drugs, including oxycodone, methadone and hydrocodone. Of the 95 arrests, police said heroin was involved in 88 cases. The defendants ranged in age from 17 to 68-years-old.

Police Commissioner Lawrence Mulvey said officers have made drug arrests a priority since the June 2008 death of Natalie Ciappa. The Plainedge High School senior had struggled with heroin abuse for several years before her death, according to her parents, who have spoken publicly about their daughter's death in an effort to prevent further tragedies.

Doreen Ciappa told The Associated Press in an interview that heroin was easily accessible in her school. “She said, 'Don't you get it? At any time of the day in any hallway, if I want something all I have to do is look up and I will see somebody who can give it to me.'''

Among those charged in the latest sweep was a former boyfriend of Ciappa's.

Nassau County Police say they made 211 heroin arrests in 2008, more than double the 103 five years earlier.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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