Law enforcement tackling state-wide heroin problem

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HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Law enforcement agencies across Connecticut are banding together, trying to get heroin off of the streets.

Police seized more than 500 bags of heroin, 50 grams of cocaine, and about $12,000 cash, arresting 26-year-old Xavier Quiles in East Hartford. But what makes this heroin bust different from the rest is that police say it’s tainted; involved in at least one overdose in Southington and sold to people all around Connecticut.

The credit for the bust not only goes to East Hartford, but to Hartford and Southington police, as well in what can only be described as incredible cooperation across the board. And officers say that is what it’s going to take to beat the heroin epidemic. They are even working with the Medical Examiner’s Office, who is not only tracking the deaths, but how they die and what the heroin when is cut with.

Dr. Maura DeJoseph of the Medical Examiner’s Office says last year, 723 people died from drugs; heroin is up 30 percent.

“We are really seeing a lot of deaths that are due to that combination of heroin and fentanyl, and fentanyl all alone and it’s disturbing for us.”

This year, the Medical Examiner’s Office is over budget by about $450,000, much of it do to autopsies from heroin. From New London, to Southington, to Derby, to Vernon who recently had a heroin overdose, Lt. William Meier of the Vernon Police Department says law enforcement is working overtime, sharing information to take the drugs off the street.

Another arrest Friday after two fatal overdoses in Derby and two non-fatal overdoses in Shelton within a 24-hour period on Wednesday. Police arrested 20-year-old Bradley Commerford, who they believe is responsible for distributing heroin in one of the fatal overdoses and both overdoses in Shelton.

Also on Friday, Groton police announced they arrested 25-year-old Herbert Villarini of New London after they found over 10 grams of fentanyl-laced heroin.

“I think that is the approach that Connecticut is starting to take right now, is that it is a team effort and we are a piece, but there are other pieces as well.”

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