Police have made a significant dent in drug distribution in Central New York. Fourteen people were arrested and about $200,000 worth of heroin was confiscated. YNN's Cara Thomas tells us more about the lengthy investigation.
ONONDAGA COUNTY, N.Y. -- For several months, numerous police agencies from Syracuse, Onondaga County and even federal agencies have been investigating a major drug trafficking operation in Central New York.
"It's a lot of work involved in surveillance and watching and following and waiting for them to do what they're doing," said Scott Smith, a Sergeant with the Onondaga County Sheriff's department.
It wasn't until this past Sunday that members of a special investigations unit were able to act. They executed numerous search warrants in the City of Syracuse and the Town of Clay, resulting in 14 arrests. Police seized $10,000 in cash and three illegal handguns. But their most successful bust was when they stopped a car on Interstate 81. It was concealing more than 20 ounces of heroin, a street value of about $200,000.
Smith said, "This group we think were responsible were probably were responsible for that amount of heroin coming into the city every 10 days to two weeks."
Officials from the Onondaga Sheriff's Department said they believe this group got their heroin from suppliers in New York City. The drugs were transported in a car with a very elaborate secret compartment that even experienced narcotics investigators had a difficult time finding.
"This is almost identical to what you're talking about as far as the types of compartments and traps that are used with people crossing borders," said Smith.
Police said the two people in the car, Reinaldo Santos and Noemi Torres, will be facing the most serious charges. Investigators believe at least one of the people they arrested is a leader in the drug operation. The 14 suspects will be facing multiple drug charges and some will also face weapons charges.