Five individuals were arrested last week after what law enforcement say was the largest seizure of pre-packaged heroin in Delaware’s history.
After more than two months of investigation, officers seized 48,800 bags of pre-packed heroin, valued around $488,000, two loaded 9 mm handguns and $40,000 in cash from two addresses on Albe Drive in Newark.
Siblings Abdul, Amyra and Daniel Haye, along with Cezar Mills and Julius Williams, were arrested and charged with conspiracy to possess and distribute 100 grams or more of heroin. The defendants could face up to 40 years in prison, and additional charges could be added.
The investigation was announced on Wednesday by U.S. Attorney Charles M. Oberly III and Gary Tuggle, an agent of the Drug Enforcement Administration.
They say some of the bags of heroin contained fentanyl, a synthetic pain killer 50 times more potent than heroin and the cause of at least 31 overdose deaths in Delaware last year.
“This seizure represents not just a significant amount of drugs off the street, but we feel is going to impact the overdose situation in the area,” Tuggle said.
The investigation was conducted by the Wilmington office of the DEA, Newark Police and the FBI as part of the New Castle County, Delaware High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area designation.
Launched in January 2015, Delaware HIDTA provides a strategic approach toward the reduction of drug trafficking in target areas throughout the county.
Law enforcement say the seizure is an example of what can be accomplished when local, state and federal organizations work together. In last five months the DEA facet of HIDTA has been responsible for seizing half a million bags of heroin and more than $1 million in cash, according to the DEA.
According to court documents, the investigation into the “Haye Drug Trafficking Organization” took place with the help of three individuals who cooperated with law enforcement after arrest. After investigating the operation with video and audio surveillance, a search warrant was executed on February 11th.
Officers used several non-explosive diversion distraction devices known as “flash bangs” to prompt the evacuation of the defendants. Abdul Haye stayed in the residence and climbed into the ceiling rafters, according to court documents. He was apprehended an hour later.
Law enforcement said it believes the organization was responsible for distributing more than 50,000 bags of heroin per week.
There will be further investigation into the sources of supply, and Tuggle said he’s confident there will be similar seizures in the near future.
Individuals cooperating with police reported the heroin comes from a “Dominican male” in Philadelphia, brought back to the Hayes residence with the help of two women and later distributed in Wilmington, according to court documents.
Heroin currently sells for about $10 a bag, while purity levels are very high, which Tuggle said is a dangerous combination.
“When you throw on top of that the lacing of fentanyl you exponentially take that threat to a whole new level,” he said. “Folks will undoubtedly live now who otherwise would have gotten a hold of this and probably would have died.”