HARTFORD >> Police seized 50,000 bags of heroin on Tuesday evening while executing a high-risk warrant at 50 Forrest St., marking one the largest narcotics bust in the state this year.
Hartford Police Deputy Chief Brian J. Foley said Wednesday the value of the drugs could be up to $250,000, depending on the estimated amount per bag. Also found during the search were 350 grams of unpacked heroin, an unknown amount of fentanyl, two .38 caliber handguns, packing material and cash.
Foley said the packaged heroin found on Tuesday would likely have been, “out on the streets within an hour.” The warrant was served at about 7:30 p.m.
“It’s significant…we generally don’t see 50,000 bags ready to go,” Foley said. “We were lucky to grab this before it hit the street.”
Tuesday’s bust showed how dangerous serving such high-risk warrants can be for law enforcement: 11 member of the department’s SWAT team assigned to execute the warrant ended up at St. Francis Hospital following possible exposure to the narcotics.
After making entry, some of the narcotics became airborne, with a cloud of dust surrounding SWAT members. Foley said the SWAT commander gave the order to evacuate the apartment after the narcotics became airborne, but not before removing three suspects in the house.
At least three SWAT officers began showing symptoms of exposure to fentanyl or heroin, Foley said. As as a precaution, all SWAT members were sent to the hospital, Foley said. The officers were treated and released within an hour of intake.
Foley said police had been involved in narcotics operation in the area for several weeks and had identified the residence at 50 Forest St. as a stash house. Knowing the house likely contained a large amount of narcotics for packaging, Foley said the department decided to assign a SWAT team to serve the warrant.
The department uses their SWAT team about 150 times per year, Foley said.
-Esteban L. Hernandez, New Haven Register