Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

4 Northeast States Stand Together against Heroin; New York Attorney General Says Cheap, Plentiful Drug 'Is a Problem No Single State Can Solve.'

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

4 Northeast States Stand Together against Heroin; New York Attorney General Says Cheap, Plentiful Drug 'Is a Problem No Single State Can Solve.'

Article excerpt

ALBANY, N.Y. * Four Northeastern states have agreed to collaborate in investigations of heroin trafficking that often cross state lines, authorities said Wednesday.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane said their coalition, so far, includes New Jersey and Massachusetts. Other states in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic regions are expected to join.

"The drug dealers don't stop at the state border, and with this partnership, neither will law enforcement," Kane said.

Schneiderman said 98 percent of the large-scale heroin trafficking cases prosecuted by his office have involved drugs moving among the four states, and traffickers try to "outmaneuver" authorities by crossing jurisdictions.

The New York attorney general's Organized Crime Task Force, with offices in Buffalo, Syracuse, Albany and White Plains, has arrested more than 400 people in dozens of trafficking investigations since 2007. Roundups often involved 20 to 40 defendants. While those investigators can reach across state lines to arrest people committing crimes in New York, their reach doesn't extend to criminals trafficking in other states.

The task force members have agreed to share information, which could include identification of traffickers, stash houses and phone numbers gathered from wiretaps, informers and cooperating witnesses. The task force is intended to create the formal framework for sharing information, which investigators may now do informally.

"We are pooling our resources and setting up formal lines of communication because this is a problem no single state can solve," Schneiderman said.

According to the attorneys general, skyrocketing demand for heroin and higher profit margins for traffickers are now driving the trade. They noted that the two largest cities on the East Coast with a combined population over 10 million people, New York City and Philadelphia, are the two primary points for heroin trafficking in the Northeast. …

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