NEW YORK (FOX5NY) - You don't see them dying on the streets, and in most places you don't find them dealing out in the open. But our investigation reveals we're in the worst drug crisis New York City has ever seen no matter how you cut it.
It's been one major drug raid after another in recent weeks with police and the feds busting up rings allegedly selling everything from pills to crack and heroin, including the largest ever gang raid of 120 arrests.
I went to the head of the New York DEA for answers.
Special Agent-in-Charge James Hunt showed me a small fraction of the heroin that's been confiscated and will be destroyed and burned once the cases are closed. A kilo goes for $50,000 to $70,000. Once it is cut and packaged, each little bag goes for $6 to $10. The profit is mind boggling: in the millions.
Hunt said the cartels have flooded the market so heroin is cheaper now than it has ever been and also more potent. Hunt said the majority of city heroin is smuggled across the porous Mexican border in everything, including stuffed animals, shoes, clothing even candy then driven to the city, just like fruit or furniture.
Once packaged at a heroin mill, the individual envelopes are stamped with brand names as a marketing tool. But there's no shortage of demand.
I also talked with Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget Brennan, who handles the biggest drug cases, like a recent $5 million bust in an upper Manhattan drug mill located on a quiet, residential street.
A disturbing new trend: Brennan is concerned about the growing use of fentanyl, a synthetic drug 50 times more potent than heroin, often used to boost the high but can also cause instant death. She is also worried we're losing a generation.
The city Health Department told us drug overdose deaths increased more than 10 percent in 2015, with the 15- to 24-year-old age group the most affected and showing a 33 percent increase.