Federal, state and city drug officials arrested 38 alleged drug wholesalers who provide one-sixth of the nation’s heroin supply, authorities said Thursday.
About 300 Drug Enforcement Administration agents, city and state police struck 22 locations, mainly on Manhattan’s Lower East Side and the Little Italy section, Wednesday night and Thursday.
The 38 people arrested allegedly were responsible for moving 2,200 pounds of pure heroin a year, DEA agent Robert Stutman said.
“To give you an idea of how much heroin that actually is, 2,200 pounds of pure heroin a year is approximately one-sixth of the entire heroin availability in the United States,” Stutman said.
“To put it in human terms,” he said, “2,200 pounds of heroin a year would be enough to supply between 90,000 and 100,000 addicts daily of their entire heroin usage for one year.”
The alleged drug wholesalers sold heroin and cocaine that had a yearly retail value of $2.1 billion, Stutman said.
Only one kilogram each of cocaine and heroin was seized, but Stutman said, “We weren’t looking to seize a large amount of drugs. We were looking to seize people.”