What to Know
- Police recovered 13 guns and several kilograms of cocaine, heroin and opiate furanyl fentanyl in a drug bust in Brooklyn, prosecutors say
- 34 people have been indicted for selling the illegally smuggled drugs throughout the five boroughs
- Furanyl fentanyl is considered to be a cheaper and more potent dupe of the opiate fentanyl
Police say a gang of nearly three dozen people, many who are New York residents, sold illegal drugs throughout the five boroughs by stashing the goods in secret compartments built into their car.
The group sold "White China", or furanyl fentanyl. Considered to be an analog of fentanyl, the highly potent opiate was shipped from China — it's cheaper and often times stronger than heroin. Due to its differing chemical composition, it's not considered a controlled substance under New York State law.
NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said he believes the drugs were ordered from China "through the dark web" after detectives were tipped off by the packaging.
During the course of the investigation, more than two kilograms of cocaine, nearly two kilograms of heroin and more than four-and-a-half kilograms of furanyl fentanyl were recovered. The drugs were sold in all five boroughs, upstate New York and the Carolinas.
Detectives also seized 13 firearms along with the contraband drugs.
"This was easily a million-dollar-a-year illegal business," said Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez.
On the Upper East Side, doctors at the New York Center for Living see the horrific effects of the opioid crisis every day. Dr. Marianne Chai calls the emergence of the new opiate particularly disturbing, but says there's a way out.
"We see miracles here all the time," she said. "That may sound silly coming from a physician who's trained in science, but I think there's no better way to describe the kinds of transformation you can see in a person who's addicted who is in recovery."
Boyce believes precision policing will make an immediate impact on keeping communities safe. He said there was an "excess" of 1,200 overdose deaths in the city last year, compared to 335 murders, providing backing to those who say opiate addiction is the city's latest plague.
"You do the numbers, this is the new crisis we have in the city," he said.