RAYNHAM - Three alleged heroin dealers were nabbed here last week during a bust by a police consortium that includes detectives from Attleboro, Mansfield and Norton.
Police also arrested eight alleged customers of the suspects, Raynham Police Chief Louis Pacheco said Saturday.
The alleged heroin dealers, all Taunton residents, worked in the Taunton-Fall River area and met their customers in Raynham and Taunton, Pacheco said.
The Northern Bristol County Drug Task Force investigation was dubbed "Operation Train Wreck" because the main car met the customers in a parking lot, and then led them to a side street where they allegedly bought the drugs, the police chief said.
Almost all of the alleged customers were young people without criminal records, he said.
Undercover police officers made dozens of buys over the past three months, Pacheco said.
The busts grew out of a 12- to 18-month investigation that started with arrests for the illegal use of the highly addictive prescription painkillers OxyContin and Percocet, he said.
Heroin addiction "starts with these pills," Pacheco said.
Heroin is more affordable than such drugs, and "you get more of a high out of heroin than you do out of a pill," he said.
"In many cases, you end up with a heroin addict," he said.
The three alleged drug dealers were from Taunton, according to published reports.
Javier Rosa, 30, was charged with eight counts of distributing heroin and conspiracy to violate drug laws.
Effrain Rivera, 30, was charged with six counts of distributing heroin and conspiracy to violate drug laws.
Jose Estrella, 24, was charged with five counts of distributing heroin and conspiracy to violate drug laws.
Arrested on various drug charges were: Julie Marinella, 19, of Bridgewater; Jonathan Hall, 23, of Middleboro; Benjamin Emerald, 27, of Taunton; Jason O'Brien, 22, of Middleboro; Shaun Patton, 30, of Pembroke; Kristen Longueil, 22, of Middleboro and Sarah Smith, 19, of Raynham.
MICHAEL GELBWASSER can be reached at 508-236-0439 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.