A Colombian man trying to smuggle heroin into the U.S. was reportedly caught by customs officials at John F. Kennedy International Airport in Queens, New York.
Ivan Vidal Forero will be facing federal narcotics smuggling charges for trying to sneak in 2 pounds of the illegal drug, which has a total estimated street value of more than $60,000, reports NY Daily News.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers reported on April 7 that the drugs were found in his underwear as he was searched in a private room shortly after arriving at the airport from Bogota, Colombia, on April 1.
“Heroin is making a big-time comeback,” New York Police Commissioner Bill Bratton told the Daily News Editorial Board. The Daily News explains that 420 deaths were recorded in 2013 alone for overdoses.
The lethal drug has become a growing issue in the Big Apple as heroin deaths from overdose exceeded murders in the city in 2014.
“We’ve never seen these numbers,” said James Hunt who is in charge of the Drug Enforcement Agency’s New York Field Division, referring to the 220 pounds of heroin seized since the start of 2015. “Not even in the heroin epidemics from 30 to 40 years ago.”
“I would definitely call it an epidemic," said Hunt. “This is no longer a ghetto drug ... an urban drug. It’s in the suburbs and crosses all economic lines and social lines. This is a problem that’s everywhere.”
“Clearly, we have a problem,” said Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget Brennan.
“It’s like candy,” she said. “There will be addiction issues and that’s what we have right now.”
The fatal drug has become an issue for the youth as well, as there were approximately 140 fatal overdoses among heroin users between 15-24 in 2012 alone, reports New York Post.
Because of the alarming findings and statistics, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has approved the new state budget that will allow for schools to administer Naloxone, also called Narcan, to students who are suffering from a heroin overdose or other potentially serious prescription painkillers.
“School nurses weren’t allowed to use Narcan. That’s crazy. That’s nuts,” said state Sen. Terrence Murphy. “This is common-sense legislation that will save kids’ lives.”
“By expanding this campaign to include schools, even more lives will be saved,” said state Health Department spokeswoman Natalie Marci.
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