A victory for Gloucester County in the battle against narcotic addiction, where there were 130 overdose deaths in 2018, is due to authorities seizing 10 kilograms of heroin of the streets announced Tuesday by the prosecutor’s office.
Monday morning authorities detailed the incident, describing it as an ordinary traffic stop on Route I-295 on Dec 12. Logan Township police pulled over a tractor-trailer and discovered the heroin after a drug-sniffing K-9 detected the smell of narcotics in the back of the tractor-trailer.
A statement served as probable cause for the driver’s arrest stated that police stopped Meza’s truck after “information was developed” that the driver could be in “possession of kilogram quantities of narcotics, which were to be dropped off to an unknown suspect in New Jersey.”
The prosecutor’s office said officers were able to locate the heroin in a hidden compartment within the cab of the trailer. The reports state the kilograms were individually packaged and stamped with unique markings. Jose Meza, 50-year-old, of California, was arrested and charged on two accounts for first-degree with intent to distribute and third-degree possession of CDS.
“This is a major impact on illegal drug distribution activities in our region,” Gloucester County Prosecutor Charles Fiore described the discovery. He believes that if the heroin had slipped through the system, it would have hit the streets and most likely would be mixed with fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that is 80-100 more powerful then Morphine and, in most cases, deadly.
According to The State Of New Jersey Department of Public Safety, “The number and percentage of overdose deaths involving fentanyl and fentanyl analogs were up in 2017 compared to the prior year. According to the preliminary data, fentanyl and fentanyl analogs were implicated in 1,379 overdose deaths in 2017—slightly over 50 percent of all drug overdose deaths. In 2016, fentanyl was involved in 818 deaths and fentanyl analogs in 164 deaths.
The amount of heroin could have generated 200,000 to 300,000 individual hits or “wax holds” for $10-$15 each. With a total street value of $4.5 million. The bust is considered a “historical” step for Logan County.
Fiore concluded his press release by saying, “While we work diligently to extend a helping hand to those in need of assistance and help with their addiction, we will be steadfast in our allied efforts to identify, apprehend and prosecute those who, for the sake of profit, willingly turn a blind eye to the deadly consequences of pushing these drugs into the community.”
“While the defendant may have sought a quick profit from transporting these drugs, the costs to our friends, neighbors and loved ones are immense, and our efforts to disrupt these illegal distribution activities will not cease. I commend the GCPO personnel involved, as well as the Logan Township Police Department under the leadership of Chief Robert Leash, for their diligence and service to the community.”
As reported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “Prescription opioid pain medicines such as OxyContin® and Vicodin® have effects similar to heroin. Research suggests that misuse of these drugs may open the door to heroin use. Nearly 80 percent of Americans using heroin (including those in treatment) reported misusing prescription opioids first.”