Eight of nine drug dealers who allegedly pushed heroin laced with fentanyl in Rockland County and New York City were put behind bars on Thursday. The mixed drug had caused nine overdoses, three of which were fatal, according to police.

Drug-dealing ring indicted in opioid overdoses

Federal drug enforcement has announced on Thursday that nine members of a drug-dealing ring have been indicted following the wave of opioid overdoses in New York City and Rockland County. All but one of the gang of drug dealers is currently behind bars.

Heroin and Fentanyl lead cause of New York overdoses

According to New York City Health Department statistics, a mixture of fentanyl and heroin were the lead cause of 970 overdoses in the city during 2016. As reported by the New York Daily News, officials quoted one incident in Queens during December 2016 where one of the customers of the drug ring in question only survived an overdose due to the administration of the anti-overdose drug naloxone.

Authorities in Rockland County teamed up with the Drug Enforcement Administration following a series of overdoses, which led their investigation to four of the dealers in Haverstraw, along with their suppliers in New York City.

Heroin cut with fentanyl for cheaper production

As reported by the Clarkstown Daily Voice, heroin is often cut by drug dealers with the cheaper, synthetic painkiller fentanyl. Thomas Zugibe, the Rockland County District Attorney, said most of the time customers are unaware that the drug they have purchased has been mixed with fentanyl, an opioid 50 times more powerful than pure heroin.

Zugibe went on to say they are experiencing high numbers of heroin and fentanyl-related overdoses in that county. However, he added that dealers are not only selling the heroin laced with fentanyl but are often entirely replacing the heroin with the synthetic drug, making the situation a major threat to the community.

Drug dealer brags about mixing heroin and fentanyl

According to the indictment, one drug dealer, Robert Diaz of Haverstraw, knew exactly how dangerous his product was and bragged that his buyers had no idea they were getting a mix of fentanyl in their heroin. It was reportedly on March 20 that Diaz joked with 37-year-old Pablo Perez, his supplier in the Bronx, using the term “fentanyl dance” to relate to overdosing. Diaz reportedly went on to also brag he had a new connection for straight fentanyl and that his clients “loved it.”

Drug dealers facing minimum 10-year sentence, with Diaz facing 20 years

The eight arrested members of the drug ring consist of David Almonte, Christian Cardenas, Rene Sanchez, 52, 33-year-old Nikki Munderville, Pablo Perez, Ronald Bolanos, Theresa Keefe, 55, and 49-year-old Robert "Facey" Diaz.

All nine of the gang are facing a minimum 10 years behind bars up to a maximum of life imprisonment if convicted. As prosecutors can link Diaz to drugs that caused the December 15 overdose, he faces a 20-year minimum sentence up to a maximum of life.

Opioid epidemic in Arizona

Blasting News reported Friday that Arizona is also suffering an epidemic of overdoses relating to heroin and other opioid drugs. A state of emergency has been declared in an effort to resolve the situation. It was also recently reported that two Pennsylvania drug counselors suffered an overdose while taking a heroin-fentanyl drug mix.