'Obamacare' heroin shipment captured in Massachusetts

'Obamacare' heroin shipment: Massachusetts police snag 1,250 packets of heroin. Why did drug dealers call their heroin 'Obamacare'?

(AP Photo/Massachusetts State Police)
Some 1,250 packets of heroin labeled "Obamacare," were confiscated by Massachusetts state police troopers during a traffic stop in Hatfield, Mass. Four people were charged with heroin trafficking.

Massachusetts state police say they've stopped a car carrying 1,250 packets of heroin stamped "Obamacare" and "Kurt Cobain" and arrested the four people inside the car.

Police say a trooper was making a traffic stop in Northampton when another car passed and he noticed several violations. He stopped the car a short time later in nearby Hatfield and found the driver wasn't licensed to drive it. A state police dog, named 'Frankie' found the bags of heroin, according to a Massachusetts State Police Facebook post.

The four arrested people have been charged with heroin trafficking.

State police Lt. Daniel Richard says it's not unusual for heroin to be stamped with numbers, words or symbols to identify who's selling it. But he says the "Obamacare" stamp is one he hadn't heard of.

Heroin stamps are how dealers brand their product. In 2010, a Manhattan art gallery held an exhibit entitled “Heroin Stamp Project," which displayed 150 stamps. While none in the collection were as overtly political as "Obamacare," pop culture references are common.

As The New York Times reported at the time:

The stamps that identify the heroin inside draw on a wide range of references. There are names like White Fang, Time Bomb and Monster Power, which is decorated with an image of the grim reaper with a scythe. There are allusions to religion (Deadly Sin and the Last Temptation), crime (Notorious and Outlaw) and publishing (Life, in white capitals against a red background, and Daily News, along with the old camera logo of that tabloid). There is also a packet stamped with the words “Tango and Cash,” the name attached to a fentanyl-laced brand of heroin that infamously caused 12 fatal overdoses in one weekend in 1991.

Several heroin brands seem to dwell on the delicate balance of mortality that accompanies their use. Those include the Last Shot, Game Over, No Exit and No Pain, which is illustrated with a coffin and a cross.

Some of the readers of the Massachusetts State Police Facebook page had their own take on why drug dealers would label it Obamacare. "Mark Nixon wrote: I guess "if you like your heroin, you CANNOT keep your heroin." That was a reference to President Obama's now infamous promise: "If you like your health care plan, you can keep it." 

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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