News Release
November 12, 2010
Erin McKenzie-Mulvey
Public Information Officer
(212) 337-2906

Heroin Mill Dismantled in Theater District: 28 Pounds of Drugs
worth $6.5 Million Seized

NOV 12 -- (Manhattan, NY) JOHN P. GILBRIDE, the Special Agent-in-Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration's New York Field Division ("DEA"), BRIDGET G. BRENNAN, New York City Police Commissioner RAYMOND W. KELLY and New York State Police Acting Superintendent JOHN P. MELVILLE announced today the seizure of 13 kilograms of heroin worth approximately $6.5 million and the arrests of 4 individuals at an apartment building located at 417 W. 43 rd Street in Manhattan.

As a result of this investigation, the DEA’s New York Drug Enforcement Task Force set up surveillance outside the apartment building over the past several days. Yesterday afternoon, investigators observed one individual worker exit the apartment building with a large plastic garbage bag and place it in a black BMW. The driver of the car attempted to speed off as investigators identified themselves and approached the car. His escape was blocked by traffic at the corner of 43 rd Street and 10 th Avenue and investigators were able to make the arrest. A garbage bag in the car contained refuse from heroin production, including damaged “glassine” envelopes and other packaging material.

Members of the DEA New York Drug Enforcement Task Force and Investigators from the Special Narcotics Prosecutor’s Office proceeded inside the apartment building to secure the heroin mill. They interrupted three heroin mill workers who had been busily packing heroin into user-ready “glassine” envelopes in the ground-floor, duplex apartment. Two workers tried to escape, leaving behind at least 250,000 glassines, much of it wrapped into bundles shrouded in glossy magazine paper. Each glassine sells for at least ten dollars on the street.

Piles of loose heroin and assorted drug packaging paraphernalia sat on tables where the defendants had been working assembly line-style. Several coffee grinders used to cut the drug with a diluting substance rested on the floor nearby. Many of the glassines were already stamped with the brand names, including “King Kong”, “Jersey Boys” and “95 South”, a reference to the interstate highway easily accessible through the nearby Lincoln Tunnel.

One worker was arrested inside the apartment, while two slipped out a back door. Investigators found them huddled in a recessed doorway in a concrete courtyard. Pursuant to a search warrant, agents recovered 13 kilograms (28.6 pounds) of heroin and an undetermined amount of bundled cash. They also seized more than 50 additional stamps used to brand the heroin and thousands of empty glassine envelopes waiting to be filled. The drug ring occupied the newly renovated apartment two blocks from Times Square, which rents for $3,800 per month and is located, for approximately two weeks.

DEA Special Agent in Charge John P. Gilbride stated, “Heroin trafficking in the New York City area continues to rise and pose significant health and safety concerns for the public.  This heroin distribution mill in the heart of Manhattan, pushing out “Jersey Boys” and “Cats & Dogs” branded heroin, underscores the drug traffickers’ determination to pump their poison onto the streets of New York City and beyond. This seizure has taken over six million dollars worth of heroin out of the drug traffickers’ pipeline.”

Mr. Gilbride praised the outstanding investigative work of the DEA’s New York Drug Enforcement Task Force Group T-41-- which is comprised of agents and officers of the DEA, the New York Police Department, and the New York State Police. He also expressed gratitude to Investigators of the New York City Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor.

The four defendants are expected to be arraigned later at Manhattan Criminal Court today on charges of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the first degree later today.

The charges and allegations are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.