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DEA-NJ and NYPD recover 270 pounds of fentanyl, heroin and cocaine with a street value of over $30 million

SEP 18 (NEW YORK) – Carl J. Kotowski, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New Jersey Division, Bridget G. Brennan, New York City’s Special Narcotics Prosecutor, New York City Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown and Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark today announced the seizure of 122 kilograms of narcotics (nearly 270 pounds) with a street value of over $30 million, including 64 kilograms (over 140 pounds) of pure fentanyl, as a result of two investigations. Four defendants are charged.

Both investigations were conducted by the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor for the City of New York, DEA New Jersey Division (NJ-DEA) and the New York City Police Department’s (NYPD) Queens Narcotics Major Case Squad.

On August 1, 2017, DEA agents and NYPD detectives recovered a total of 64 kilograms of pure fentanyl (over 140 pounds) – from a residential building at 85-15 120th Street in Kew Gardens. In addition to the pure fentanyl, agents and detectives recovered 22 kilograms of fentanyl mixed with other narcotics, five kilograms of heroin and six kilograms of cocaine, for a total of 97 kilograms of narcotics (213 pounds). This has been NYC’s largest fentanyl seizure to date.  On September 5, 2017, an additional 25 kilograms of fentanyl and heroin (55 pounds) were recovered from a vehicle in the Bronx.

Over the past week, the NYPD laboratory issued final reports on its analysis of all of the drugs confiscated. The analysis revealed that of the 97 packages of narcotics recovered, fentanyl was present in 86. In addition to the 64 kilograms of pure fentanyl, 22 kilograms were composed of fentanyl mixed with heroin, the synthetic opioid tramadol and the tranquilizer ketamine. Given that a dose of fentanyl weighing two to three milligrams can be deadly, the 64 kilograms of pure fentanyl alone seized in this case could have yielded approximately 32 million lethal doses.

These cases highlight the enormous amount of fentanyl surging through New York City, hitting the streets and escalating overdose deaths. According to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, fentanyl is driving a spike in fatal overdoses, which reached an all-time high of 1,374 deaths in New York City in 2016 – 46% more than in 2015. A dangerously strong synthetic opioid, fentanyl is approximately 50 times stronger than heroin and is increasingly found mixed into the city’s illicit narcotics supply.

“The seizure of this amount of narcotics, especially the fentanyl, undoubtedly saved countless lives. The combination of fentanyl with the other drugs is a deadly combination. We will continue to work with our law enforcement counterparts to keep our communities safe,” said Carl J. Kotowski, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New Jersey Division.

“The sheer volume of fentanyl pouring into the city is shocking. It’s not only killing a record number of people in New York City, but the city is used as a hub of regional distribution for a lethal substance that is taking thousands of lives throughout the Northeast,” said Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget G. Brennan. “The success of these two investigations underscores the critical importance of collaboration. Each of the law enforcement partners made a significant contribution to the removal of 270 pounds of lethal narcotics from the black market.”

“The NYPD has been successful in drug interdiction to date, but this seizure goes down in history as a milestone in the ongoing fight against fentanyl. This case demonstrates our Department’s deep commitment to protecting the public from drug cartels that seek to profit at the expense of our citizens," said Police Commissioner James P. O'Neill.

For the August 1 seizure, Rogelio Alvarado-Robles and Blanca Flores-Solis, both of Queens, NY, were each charged in Manhattan Criminal Court with two counts of Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the First Degree and two counts of Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree.  For the September 5 seizure, Edwin Guzman and Manuel Rivera-Santana, both of Bronx, NY, were each charged in Manhattan Criminal Court with one count of Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the First Degree and one count of Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree.

Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget G. Brennan thanked her office’s Special Investigations Bureau (SIB), the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) New Jersey Division, the New York City Police Department (NYPD) Queens Narcotics Major Case Squad, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown, and Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark.


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