Buffalo (WKBW) Experts call Oxycontin one of the most powerful pain killers out there. if abused, it can also be one of the most dangerous. But local law enforcement have now put an end to an Oxycontin smuggling ring with ties to Western New York.
U.S. Attorney William Hochul announced Thursday that two men are now under arrest and charged with possession, distribution, and trafficking of Oxycontin across the U.S.-Canadian border.
56 year old Joseph Julien of Ontario and 20 year old Kevin Hinca of Lancaster are now behind bars following a six month investigation.
"Mr. Julien has been responsible for importing into the United States more than ten thousand prescription pills," Hochul stated at Thursday's news conference.
Using undercover informants, law enforcement officials were able to buy nearly two hundred illegal pills from Hinca. When arrested, members of the Drug Enforcement Administration recovered another 125 pills.
Hinca was arrested his home on Brunswick Avenue in Lancaster. Neighbors say drugs were becoming a problem in the area, and that the arrest was not surprising.
Officials say prescription drug abuse is among the fastest growing problems in their communities, and multiple agencies vowed to fight the problem through arrests like this one.
"You can't arrest yourself out of a narcotics problem. And we are doing our best. We made two arrests today. Who says tomorrow we won't be making more tomorrow. But when you're talking about prescription drugs which are in you're medicine cabinet, there is a whole spectrum of people that need to be part of the solution," Hochul said.
Both Hinca and Julien each face several charges of conspiracy, distribution, and trafficking. Each charge carries a maximum sentence of twenty years in prison and a fine of up to a million dollars.