On Tuesday a federal complaint was unsealed that showed the scope of a heroin trafficking operating in the Syracuse area.
In the complaint a Drug Enforcement Agency agent testified that hundreds of bags of heroin were being moved out of an apartment building on Charles Avenue in Solvay every day from June 2010 until March 2011. The U.S. Attorney's office says a half kilogram of heroin worth a street value of $1,000,000 was recovered during the investigation.
48-year-old Marc Pinkett, 34-year-old Deena Webster, 34-year-old Daniel Rendino, 46-year-old John Durham, and 61-year-old Jacob Sherrill were arrested and face federal heroin trafficking charges. 50-year-old Laura Mayfield was charged with conspiring to possess with the intent to distribute and distributing one hundred grams or more of heroin. All of them are from Syracuse.
The federal complaint also says large amounts of heroin were distributed from a home on Laurel Street on Syracuse's north side. Many neighbors were shocked by the amount of heroin described in the complaint but were glad it was shut down.
"This is a bad neighborhood, it has been for a long time and I think it's great that they made a bust this big. It says a lot - it says they're cracking down," said David George who lives on Syracuse's north side.
Local drug counselors say heroin use is increasing in Central New York. At Upstate Hospital's Poison Control Center, calls about heroin in Onondaga County have doubled in the past year.
"We thought for a while that it had lost it's favor and there were all these new emerging drugs and heroin was sort of passe. not at all. it's here, it's out there, it's being used and it's very dangerous," said Administrative Director Michele Caliva.
The sharp increase in heroin cases has treatment experts worried and they say many people may not realize just how dangerous heroin can be.
"It drops your respiratory rate. These patients have an inability to breathe like you and I," said Caliva. She said many heroin users die because they can no longer breathe.
Caliva said that the Poison Control Center is seeing more calls about heroin use but also for abuse of other drugs as well.