HACKENSACK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – More than 100 people face charges stemming from a four month investigation targeting heroin distribution in Bergen, Passaic and Mercer counties.
Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli says the probe was prompted by what he says was an alarming increase in the number of fatal overdoses and overdoses.
Law enforcement seized 50,000 bags of heroin and $110,000 in cash.
Many of those arrested are in their 20s and from wealthier communities in northern New Jersey.
Photos of 23 men arrested for dealing heroin were plastered on posters behind the prosecutors. The photos have also been posted on the Internet.
The suspects are all accused of fueling the heroin trade in inner city Paterson, 1010 WINS’ Steve Sandberg reported.
There was another poster with the faces of 89 others – the heroin users – who were arrested in the ring.
“Many of these kids graduated college, are in college. Many of them are from very good and decent families,” said Molinelli. “I want these kids to see them up there, I want their parents to see them. I don’t want to hurt them, I want them to have an opportunity to really do well in their lives.”
The 89 people are between the ages of 18 and 30 and are charged with the purchase and possession of narcotics.
“We have to start doing this. I don’t think I’ve ever shown buyers at this level in this way, but this is the way I’m going to show it,” said Molinelli.
He added that there is an epidemic of heroin use in the area. Heroin deaths doubled last year, WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman reported.
“We are doing everything that we can to stem this tide,” Passaic County Prosecutor Camelia Valdes added.
Some of the suspects are accused of being leaders of narcotic trafficking networks.
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