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The Dutchess County Drug Task Force, in conjunction with the Poughkeepsie Police Department, recently confiscated 477 bags of heroin following a months-long investigation of suspected heroin sales from a residence. Three men were taken into custody during the bust at a two-family residence on Gray Street in Poughkeepsie. Task force officers also found a loaded handgun stolen from North Carolina, cocaine and cash after serving the residents with a search warrant.

According to the task force coordinator, the heroin seized in the raid had an approximate street value of $4,000. An 18-year-old defendant was booked on charges of fourth-degree criminal weapon possession, a misdemeanor, and felony charges of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. Two other men, aged 23 and 51, face felony charges of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.

There has been an uptick in the number of overdoses in the region as a result of the influx of heroin, which is sometimes laced with other drugs such as Fentanyl. In November 2013, eight people were hospitalized in non-fatal overdoses involving Fentanyl.

Statistics in recent years indicate a sharp rise in overdoses, both fatal and non-fatal, linked to heroin. In the first 11 months of last year, 63 people in Dutchess County had OD'd on drugs, 20 of which were confirmed heroin deaths with another two suspected of being tied to the lethal drug. December fatalities brought 2013's numbers even higher.

New York has a Good Samaritan Law that protects overdose victims and those who render aid to them from arrest, except in the case of outstanding warrants, weapons and parole violations, drug dealing and impaired driving. This is to encourage people to get emergency aid for anyone suspected of overdosing on drugs.

The arrested men were transported to Dutchess County Jail and have been arraigned. It is unknown whether they hired defense attorneys or are being represented by a public defender. Any arrest involving heroin is a serious charge. Those facing prosecution should seek the counsel of an experienced defense attorney who can try to get the charges reduced or thrown out on technicalities. Don't try to navigate the court system alone.

Source: poughkeepsiejournal.com, "Heroin bust sheds light on 'rapidly escalating' drug problem" Nina Schutzman, Jan. 16, 2014

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