In a major blow in law enforcement’s mission to slow down the heroin epidemic in the United States, the DEA has made what Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget Brennan deemed, “the largest ever recorded by the DEA in New York state.” After an investigation, agents seized over 150 pounds of heroin worth a whopping $50 million on Tuesday. Jose Mercedes and Yenci Cruz Francisco were arrested in the Bronx for the crime. $2 million in cash were recovered from them.
Yahoo News reports:
According to a criminal complaint, investigators monitoring wiretaps learned the defendants were expecting a large drug shipment over the weekend. They followed the two suspects as they traveled in tandem in a Chevy Suburban and another vehicle to an industrial area of Montville, New Jersey, where tractor-trailers were parked, and then to a residential part of the Bronx, the complaint says.
After a drug-sniffing dog detected drugs inside the parked SUV, agents stopped Mercedes for questioning as he pulled up in a car that contained a smaller amount of heroin, authorities said. The suspect told agents there was a larger amount of drugs in the SUV and gave them instructions on how to open secret compartments inside the vehicle, they said.
A search of the Suburban resulted in the recovery of 70 kilograms — about 154 pounds — inside two compartments, authorities said. Another search at a nearby apartment turned up $2 million underneath a floor, they said.
Information obtained during the investigation have led the feds to believe that the duo were running an expansive drug network. It is believed that they received similarly large shipments of heroin regularly from Mexico and acted as the main source of dope for addicts in New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Rhode Island. According to Brennan, “To put it in perspective, this load was so large it carried the potential of supplying a dose of heroin to every man, woman and child in New York City. While this important seizure stopped a huge amount of heroin from flooding our city, it also highlights the critical need to intercept heroin before it ever reaches our region.”