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Heroin in the Northeast: A Regional Drug Threat Assessment
August 2003


New York serves as the primary market area for heroin available in the Northeast. However, the greater Boston area, Baltimore, Newark, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C., also serve as significant regional distribution centers. More recently, Pittsburgh has emerged as a distribution center for heroin available and abused in the suburban and rural portions of southwestern Pennsylvania as well as in northwestern West Virginia and southeastern Ohio. Nonetheless, heroin abusers throughout the Northeast, including those from middle- to upper-class neighborhoods, can drive to any large metropolitan area, purchase heroin, and quickly leave. They often pool their money to fund large purchases.

Colombian DTOs and criminal groups, based primarily in the Jackson Heights section of Queens, New York, and Dominican DTOs and criminal groups, usually based in the Washington Heights section of Upper Manhattan, New York, control most of the wholesale-level distribution of South American heroin in the Northeast. Heroin distributors from throughout the region often travel to one of these locations to purchase the drug for distribution in their areas. For example, most of the heroin available in Willimantic, Connecticut, is first smuggled from source and transit countries into New York City and then further transported overland, usually through Hartford, into Willimantic. Some heroin distributors from areas such as Danielson, Norwich, and New London (all in Connecticut) travel to Willimantic to purchase the drug. In addition, Asian and Nigerian criminal groups are the primary wholesale-level distributors of Southeast and Southwest Asian heroin. Dominican criminal groups are the primary retail heroin distributors throughout the Northeast; however, numerous other retail heroin distributors also are active.

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