Note from myself as Co-Owner and News Editor, Ryan Hedrick (Co-Owner, News Director) and Justin Gould (Co-Owner): The following report is not an opinion but, rather, an analysis. We don’t often do reports like these. In this case, our company is delivering an analysis and a series of questions.
SOUTHERN TIER-Chautauqua and Cattaraugus Counties have recently experienced an increase in methamphetamine and cocaine manufacturing and distribution. Heroin and fentanyl have virtually disappeared from the public eye after receiving a crescendo of attention in 2014-15 in cities like Jamestown, Dunkirk and Olean.
Recent arrests throughout the region, however, have indicated the deadly narcotics remain a part of the community.
Daniel McKay, 23, of Jamestown was recently arrested for heroin and meth possession. McKay previously spent time in state prison and was arrested in a 2014 heroin raid. His recent arrest involved a “quantity” of heroin, which means he more than likely wasn’t intending to sell based on the charges and terminology used in the police report.
The Jamestown native is currently in county jail on $26,000 bail.
McKay, if the projection is correct, received his heroin from some unknown manufacturer or dealer. Law enforcement has, time and time again, stated publicly that drugs are often shipped into the area from cities like Buffalo, New York City and Philadelphia.
Operation Horseback, which I carefully constructed a flashback investigative report a month ago, showed a transporting channel connecting Jamestown with bigger cities.
McKay isn’t a lone wolf in the department of recent heroin arrests. Randolph native Dylan Purdy is currently in Cattaraugus County Jail on charges involving the sale and distribution of heroin and fentanyl.
There is no known buy/sell relationship between the two which, again, leaves the likely scenario of an unknown dealer(s).
However, Olean’s Office of the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force may have inched closer to the distribution source. Three people were recently arrested after authorities reportedly discovered over 200 bags of fentanyl during two separate searches, one of which occurred in a Seneca Allegany Casino hotel room.
Jose R. Alvarez, 21, Angel L. Cabrera, 25, both of Buffalo, and Wilfredo Cruz Jr., 20, Tonawanda, were each charged with one count of Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance and one count of Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance, with several charges pending.
Multiple fentanyl and heroin possession arrests have also occurred the last few months in the North County. Fentanyl overdoses have popped up as well.
In fact, the County Sheriff’s Office reported earlier this summer that two fatal heroin overdoses occurred in the North County. Many more overdoses occurred during that time as well.
Mental Health Association’s Rick Huber told WNYNewsNow in June he knew of some cases regarding fatal opioid overdoses within the city.
Huber further stated Thursday he thinks the heroin and opioid overdoses have increased since the June interview rather than decrease.
“I’d say (the overdoses have increased, not decreased),” Huber said. “I don’t really think it ever slowed.”
Three confirmed overdoses also took place in the city between Monday and Tuesday.
History shows drugs often move up-and-down similar to a yo-yo. The demand for cocaine and meth often rise and fall with each other. When they fall, heroin seems to rise. When they rise, heroin seems to fall.
Heroin and fentanyl, however, appear to be defying the mainstream trend throughout Chautauqua and Cattaraugus Counties.
This article isn’t intended to scare or sensationalize a reoccurring dilemma. The intent is to show how heroin and fentanyl are still circulating in the community despite the decreased attention the deadly drugs have received.
Community members will have to internally or, for that matter, externally debate whether the War on Drugs is still a worthwhile fight. You are the only one who could and should determine your thoughts and beliefs on the subject.
The issue still remains in society.
How else can we eradicate the drug epidemic? Is the War on Drugs worth it? Is there an alternative method of elimination? Or do we sit back and do nothing as people continue to die?
You, again, have your own thought process. There’s no clear answer.