Cops Take Down Bronx Heroin Mill

By Jason Gotlieb 12/02/11

39,000 glassines were stamped with a "Blackberry" smartphone logo.

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A neighbor looks on in disbelief. Photo via

Almost $400,000 worth of heroin was seized this week from a drug mill on Cruger Avenue in the Bronx. Along with the smack, six suspects were taken into custody. This particular brand of heroin was dubbed "Blackberry" and was packaged in glassine envelopes at this location, stamped with images of the ubiquitous electronic device. A heroin/drug mill is simply a place where drugs are processed for distribution. They're often separate from all-out stash houses, where the bulk of the drugs and money are kept—this particular group of heroin pushers used a stash house in nearby Soundview. The bust followed another recent heroin mill raids in the Pelham Parkway neighborhood. The DEA credits "old-school surveillance" with supplying the info that led to the busts. Mill workers often labor in 12-hour shifts. They're generally not junkies themselves, but in it for the money—making up to $5,000 a week. Many of them are given respirators and work under ventilation systems so as not to inadvertently inhale heroin dust. The "cushier" heroin-mills may even supply toiletries, meals and free transportation. But that's no consolation to local residents who find themselves living next door to a major drug den. As 93-year-old Dorothy Schwartz, who lives just down the hall from the Cruger Avenue mill puts it, “I just got over a heart attack, I’m blind in my left eye and I need more trouble here?”

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Jason Gotlieb is a programmer, software developer, and writer living in New York. You can find him on Linkedin or follow him on Twitter.