April 1, 2009
Contact: Erin Mulvey
Public Information Officer
Phone: 212-337-2906

Cocaine To Go - Bronx Pizza Parlor Delivers Narcotics
9 Kilograms of Cocaine and 4 Handguns Seized

APR 01 -- New York Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent-In-Charge John P. Gilbride and Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget G. Brennan today announced yesterday's arrest of six people in connection with a wiretap investigation into a cocaine ring operating out of a popular pizza parlor in the Bronx. Nine kilograms of cocaine, four weapons and approximately $20,000 were seized during five search warrant operations. Three of the ring's customers were previously charged during the investigation.

photo of john's pizza parlor
photo of the four seized guns

DEA Special Agent-In-Charge John P. Gilbride stated, "Using their pizza shop as a front for drug trafficking, the dough that this organization made was not from the sale of pizza but rather illegal narcotics.  Through concentrated law enforcement efforts this organization's brick ovens have been shut down."

During the ten-month investigation, agents identified Benigno Burgos, manager of John's Pizza at 1788 Westchester Avenue in the Bronx, and Victor Gomez, his partner in the drug business, as the leaders of a cocaine distribution enterprise. Other members of the drug operation, who doubled as delivery men and workers for the pizzeria, prepared narcotics orders, met with narcotics customers, and replenished the cocaine supply kept inside the pizza parlor.

In the past 10 months, the Burgos' organization received multiple separate deliveries of cocaine, ranging from 200 grams to more than 10 kilograms apiece.  From the pizzeria and at least four stash houses within walking distance, the group prepared, sold and distributed ounces, kilogram and multi-kilogram quantities of cocaine to dealers in the New York metropolitan area and Connecticut.

photo of the drugs in evidence bags

Three customers of the cocaine ring were previously arrested during the investigation. On October 9, 2008, DEA agents recovered half a kilogram of cocaine in the Bronx and arrested Confesor Delrio and Rafael Chevalier. Noel Farrow was arrested on November 25, 2008 in the Bronx and DEA agents recovered one kilogram of cocaine and approximately $50,000. Delrio and Chevalier were indicted by the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor on top narcotics felonies.  Farrow has felony narcotics charges pending in Criminal Court.

Five search warrant operations were conducted yesterday at various locations in the Bronx including, John's Pizza; Burgos' residence at 1317 Taylor Avenue, 2 nd Floor where nine kilograms of cocaine were seized hidden under a child's mattress; Montana's residence at 1661 Union Port Road, 2 nd Floor; 1842 Cross Bronx Expressway, Apt 1A where three guns were recovered; and 1250 Beach Avenue, 2 nd Floor where one gun, U.S. currency and drug paraphernalia was recovered. Burgos was arrested at John's Pizza where agents recovered a wrapper from a kilogram of cocaine and a small quantity of packaged cocaine. In addition to the nine kilograms of cocaine and the four weapons, U.S. currency was also recovered.

Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget G. Brennan said: "It must be alarming to find out that your neighborhood pizza parlor is a haven for a wholesale cocaine operation. Out of state "take out" customers went to the pizza parlor to pick up their orders, often using pizza boxes to conceal the $32,000 to $42,000 worth of cocaine they had just purchased. Other customers received their narcotics delivered to pre-arranged locations in the Bronx."

Group D-35 DEA Special Agents, Investigators from the Special Narcotics Prosecutor's Office, NYPD's Street Narcotics Enforcement Unit and police officers from the 43 rd Precinct, and the Port Authority's K-Nine Unit participated in the takedown of the investigation.

Those defendants arrested yesterday, will be arraigned in New York City Criminal Court, 100 Centre Street, New York, New York. Below are names of those arrested

A list of those arrested late yesterday is below:

Benigno Burgos
1317 Taylor Avenue, Apt. 2
Bronx, New York

Antonia Reyes
1317 Taylor Avenue, Apt. 2
Bronx, New York

Victor Gomez
1661 Unionport Road, 2 nd Floor
Bronx, New York

Azael Castelan
1250 Beach Avenue, 1 st Floor
Bronx, New York

Antonio Agular
1250 Beach Avenue, 1 st Floor
Bronx, New York

A sixth defendant was referred for prosecution by the Bronx District Attorney's Office.

Three of the ring's customers, listed below, were previously charged with on charges of Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the 1 st Degree, Criminal Possession of Controlled Substance in the 3 rd Degree with Intent to Sell.

1. Confesor Delrio, 36
        56 East 184 th Street
        Bronx, NY

2. Rafael Chevalier, 42
        2055 Harrison Avenue
        Bronx, NY 10453

3.  Noel Farrow
        1682A Banyer Place
        Bronx, NY 10473

The defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.