News Release
August 27, 2010
Erin Mulvey
Public Information Officer
212 337-2906

Search For Drugs and Guns closes
The Cross Bronx Expressway: Four Kilos of Heroin Seized

Large bag of prepackaged heroin that was branded with “Starbucks” One of the guns found at the location
Large bag of prepackaged heroin that was branded with “Starbucks”
One of the guns found at the location
Traffic stopped on 95 Cross Bronx

AUG 27
(Manhattan, NY) JOHN P. GILBRIDE, the Special Agent-in-Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration's New York Field Division ("DEA") and BRIDGET G. BRENNAN, New York City Police Commissioner RAYMOND W. KELLY and New York State Police Acting Superintendent JOHN P. MELVILLE announced today the arrests of six defendants and the seizure of four kilograms of Mexican and Colombian heroin worth more than a million dollars from an 18th floor apartment in Washington Heights used for mass-packaging of glassines.

During the search of the heroin mill at 260 Audubon Ave., apt. 18C at approximately 10:30 p.m. last night, at least two defendants ran to the balcony and a bedroom window and threw a loaded 9 millimeter handgun, a 38 caliber revolver and thousands of glassines used to package heroin onto the Cross Bronx Expressway, which passes directly underneath the building. A plastic package containing a full kilogram of uncut heroin was also thrown from the balcony and landed on a second floor terrace below.

Authorities were forced to close the Cross Bronx Expressway and the nearby George Washington Bridge for at least half an hour in order to ensure the public’s safety and recover the contraband.

One defendant, Pedro Capellan, tried to escape by dangling from the 18 th floor balcony, but he was forced to turn back when he saw law enforcement agents were already positioned on the 17 th floor balcony below. Two other defendants, Miguel Diaz-Alvarez and Florencio Bonilla, were also on the 18 th floor balcony.

The aborted escape and attempts to dispose of the heroin and weapons happened as members of the New York Drug Enforcement Task Force worked to knock down the reinforced door of apartment 18C, which had been heavily fortified with deadbolt locks from the inside.

Once inside the apartment, law enforcement agents from the DEA, the NYSP, the NYPD and investigators from Special Narcotics found approximately four kilograms of heroin, which consisted of two kilograms of unpackaged powder and two shopping bags containing at least 7,000 glassines that had already been wrapped in bundles for distribution.

An NYPD Emergency Services Unit closed the Cross Bronx Expressway and collected the two firearms and thousands of glassines – some empty and some filled – that had rained down onto the roadway. Bullets were also found scattered on the expressway along with shell casings and cartridges. Investigators have submitted the guns for DNA analysis.

The glassines were stamped with the brand names “Starbucks,” “Target” and “High End.” Agents also seized paraphernalia for packaging heroin, including grinders, scales, baggies and other material.

Authorities believe the group used the apartment at 260 Audubon Ave. for packaging heroin for at least a month. The apartment number had been removed from the door and new locks were recently installed. During the month-long investigation, members of the drug ring were caught on videotape as they entered the residence with backpacks and food to begin their 10-hour shifts grinding heroin, mixing it with dilutants and packaging it.

The defendants are each charged with two counts of Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the 1 st degree, one count of Conspiracy to Possess and Sell a Controlled Substance, two counts of Criminally Using Drug Paraphernalia in the 2 nd degree. Four of the six are charged with Resisting Arrest.