Updated: 6:39 p.m. Monday, May 4, 2009 | Posted: 3:34 p.m. Monday, May 4, 2009
Investigators Warn Of New Type Of Heroin In Charlotte
Investigators recently found a dark, sticky substance known as black tar heroin in a home in Charlotte.
"This has kind of become a hub for black tar heroin," said John Emerson with North Carolina’s Drug Enforcement Agency.
Emerson said heroin seizures are up, and so is the number of distribution spots.
“We've noticed an increase in the number of Mexican trafficking cells that are moving specifically heroin," he said.
Charlotte has been identified as one of 230 cities where Mexican traffickers maintain drug distribution networks.
An undercover agent opened up a package of black tar heroin for Eyewitness News. It's made from opium from poppy plants grown in western Mexico. It’s darker than regular heroin.
"Some people equate it to a Tootsie Roll, kind of soft," he said.
But it’s just as dangerous as regular heroin.
"Each one of these would typically be a hit or an injection of heroin," he said.
Agents said heroin is many times cheaper than prescription drugs, like oxycodone. A hit of heroin in a small balloon is $10 to $12.50, while one oxycodone pill can go for $20 to $25.
Police said they are now seeing more dealers leaving the streets and heading into neighborhoods, where teens are buying the drugs.
Last year, Charlotte-Mecklenburg police found the drugs in a home on Mary Jo Helms Drive in north Charlotte, a street that neighbors call quiet.
"I think it's not so surprising. I think it's more concerning," said Thelancy Price, who lives nearby and drops her son off at preschool a street over. "I think everybody ought to be concerned about that. I think any neighborhood and every neighborhood should be concerned."
Just last week, police arrested the son of professional wrestler Ric Flair. Police said 21-year-old Richard Fliehr crashed his car and had black tar heroin inside.
Emerson said parents need to be aware of its presence because heroin is one the most addictive drugs around.
"It's particularly scary for us because when someone's life becomes involved with heroin use, generally nothing else matters to them," he said.