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Marketing-savvy New York City drug dealers have seized on the COVID-19 pandemic, selling heroin in glassine packets stamped with the word “Coronavirus” next to a biohazard symbol.
Authorities busted a Bronx heroin/fentanyl packaging mill they say produced more than $1 million worth of individual dose envelopes stamped “Coronavirus,” “24 Black Mamba,” “Hiroshima,” “Isis,” “Antrax” and “95.”
The “24 Black Mamba” stamped heroin was a reference to the death of NBA star Kobe Bryant.
“Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, we arrested six drug traffickers who aptly branded their product ‘coronavirus’,” said New York DEA Special Agent in Charge Ray Donovan said. “Traffickers market their drugs like businesses, branding their product with stamps to attract users, like ’24 Black Mamba’; or use an ‘Antrax’ stamp to designate origins and reference enforcer gangs of the Sinaloa Cartel.
Donavan joined New York City Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget Brennan in announcing the arrests Friday.
Like the coronavirus, the Coronavirus-stamped heroin has been linked to deaths.
That brand of heroin, and the “24 Black Mamba” heroin have been associated with multiple fatal overdoses in New Jersey, Brennan said. The source of that heroin hasn't been established.
Cops found the branded drugs in a Bronx apartment after witnessing a drug handoff near the George Washington Bridge Thursday night, the online new outlet Patch New York City reported.
The raid resulted in the seizure of $25,000 cash, 120,000 packets of heroin or fentanyl, drug-packaging equipment and ink pads used to stamp the glassine packets.