WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH)– Dozens of heroin dealers are behind bars in what police call ‘Operation Stamp Out.’ Undercover officers had 50 targets during an eight-month long undercover investigation, and have arrested 38 of them.
Waterbury police chief Vernon Riddick said the force used undercover officers from the Stamford police department to purchase narcotics from the dealers.
Police said the suspects were supplying heroin dealers, or selling bundles of the drug.
“When you get to the mid-level person the important thing is you get to the lower level as well and also bridge to the higher end people. So we thought it would be a good opportunity to get intelligence from either side,” said Riddick.
Police obtained search warrants for a handful of homes, including one on Wilson Street.
“We did recover a shotgun, over a hundred rounds of ammunition, some cocaine, marijuana and heroin,” said Waterbury Deputy Chief Fred Spagnolo. Through the course of the investigation, police seized over 2,300 bags of heroin, and that’s not all.
Over an ounce of crack cocaine, an ounce of powder cocaine, and about a half-ounce of marijuana were also seized. The total street value was over $15,000, according to Spagnolo. Police also seized $28,000 in cash.
Last month, Waterbury mayor Neil O’Leary formulated a task force that included members from the mental health community, police, fire, medical responders and community leaders. All were collaborating on ways to stamp out the heroin.
“It’s an epidemic. Fifty targets in an investigation that lasted six to eight months is a testament to how rampant the problem is,” said Spagnolo.