Bronx Man Indicted as a Major Trafficker Following Seizure of 110 Pounds of Cocaine from Tractor-Trailer in Virginia
NEW YORK CITY – An indictment filed in Manhattan Supreme Court by the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor charges Jose DelaCruz with Operating as a Major Trafficker, Conspiracy in the Second Degree, and Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the First and Third Degrees, following the seizure of 50 kilograms of cocaine (approximately 110 pounds) from a tractor-trailer truck stopped in Virginia. The large load of cocaine was headed towards New York City and carried a street value of at least $1.25 million.
Bridget G. Brennan, New York City’s Special Narcotics Prosecutor, Tim Foley, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s New York Division, New York City Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell and Ricky J. Patel, Acting Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations New York, announced the indictment today as Jose DelaCruz appeared before Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Steven Statsinger for arraignment on the indictment.
The charges are the result of an investigation conducted by the New York Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Strike Force, Group Z-21, with assistance from the Rockbridge County Sheriff’s Office in Virginia.
Between September 27 and September 30, 2021, a wiretap investigation revealed Jose DelaCruz allegedly engaged in a series of phone conversations in Spanish with Luis DelaCruz, a relative, about receiving a bulk shipment of narcotics. The two used coded language as they allegedly arranged for Luis DelaCruz to pick up 50 kilograms of cocaine and transport the narcotics cross-country to the Bronx.
“Let’s see if we can pick up this weekend, and that way I can be over at the warehouse by Tuesday-Wednesday,” Jose DelaCruz allegedly stated on September 30, 2021 in a call described in court papers.
On October 2, 2021, a Sunday, the investigation revealed that Luis DelaCruz allegedly received a bulk shipment of 50 kilograms of cocaine in Houston, Texas.
Four days later, on October 6, 2021, Jose DelaCruz allegedly received multiple calls from Luis DelaCruz. “Saturday, be on the alert as to where I can make a stop at one of those locations, and you can go in a cab and pick up the girl,” Luis DelaCruz allegedly stated in a call referenced in court papers.
“Not a problem. Let’s do it that way,” Jose DelaCruz said, allegedly recognizing the code word “girl” to mean “cocaine.”
On the night of October 6, 2021, agents and officers of the Strike Force Group Z-21 determined that Luis DelaCruz was travelling through Virginia. The following morning, at approximately 3:26 a.m., members of the Rockbridge County Sheriff’s Office stopped Luis DelaCruz after he exited the cabin of a tractor-trailer at a truck stop located on Raphine Road, in Raphine. Inside the cabin of the tractor-trailer, officers found two duffle bags containing 50 kilograms of cocaine. The truck was transporting boxes food items, including snack chips and dip. Luis DelaCruz was arrested and faces federal charges in Virginia.
Members of the Strike Force, Group Z-21 conducted court-authorized searches of Jose DelaCruz’s apartment, located at 406 East 161st Street, Apt. 4F in the Bronx between January 11 and January 14, 2022. Agents and officers recovered approximately $24,600 cash, a kilo press used for shaping narcotics into bricks, and a money-counter. A hidden trap compartment underneath the floor of the bathroom was empty, but had a strong odor of cocaine. Agents and officers arrested Jose DelaCruz on January 11, 2022. The judge at arraignment set bail at $300,000 cash or insurance company bail bond and $600,000 partially secured bond.
Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget G. Brennan commended her office’s Special Investigations Bureau, DEA New York Division, the New York City Police Department, Homeland Security Investigations New York for their work on the investigation, and thanked the Rockbridge County Sheriff’s Office.
The Strike Force is a crime-fighting unit comprising federal, state and local law enforcement agencies supported by the New York/New Jersey High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area. Housed at the DEA’s New York Division and includes agents and officers of the DEA; the New York City Police Department; the New York State Police; Immigration and Customs Enforcement – Homeland Security Investigations; the U.S. Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; U.S. Customs and Border Protection; U.S. Secret Service; the U.S. Marshals Service; New York National Guard; the Clarkstown Police Department; U.S. Coast Guard; Port Washington Police Department; and New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision.
Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget G. Brennan said, “This investigation prevented more than 100 pounds of cocaine from reaching our city, where lethal mixtures of narcotics are leading to record high numbers of overdose deaths. This success demonstrates that collaboration among law enforcement agencies is a powerful tool against trafficking networks with nationwide resources and connections, and is critical to reining in this crisis.”
DEA Acting Special Agent in Charge Tim Foley said, “The DelaCruz cousins’ trafficking operation is one example of how illegal drugs are coming to New York. Under the guise of transporting bags of snack chips, DelaCruz was harboring over a million dollars’ worth of cocaine in duffle bags in the back of the tractor trailer. Drug trends indicate that dealers are mixing cocaine with fentanyl, leading to users unknowingly, and some knowingly, using the synthetic drug which is causing a rise in overdoses. This significant seizure of cocaine and arrests of those responsible, prove that the New York Strike Force and Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor are dedicated to keeping New Yorkers safe.”
Police Commissioner Keechant L. Sewell said, “Today’s charges further affirm the NYPD’s unwavering commitment to ridding our city of illegal drugs. And this investigation – involving more than a dozen law enforcement agencies across multiple states – is a perfect example of how focused collaboration makes us all safer. The illegal drug trade wreaks havoc in our communities, and our job is to ensure that anyone who traffics in this poison be brought to justice swiftly and successfully. To that end, I thank and commend the Special Narcotics Prosecutor for the City of New York, the New York Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Strike Force, the DEA New York Division, Homeland Security Investigations New York, and all of our local, state, and federal law-enforcement colleagues for their close partnership on this critical case.”
“The less-than dynamic Delacruz duo allegedly thought that they could evade law enforcement by speaking in code to one another and attempting to conceal 50 kilograms of cocaine in a truck hauling snacks - but they were wrong. HSI and its partners on the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Strike Force cracked the code, found the cocaine, and charged Jose Delacruz for his role in narcotics trafficking,” said Homeland Security Investigations, Acting Special Agent in Charge Ricky J. Patel. “HSI New York working with our law enforcement and prosecutorial partners at the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor for the City of New York, will continue to tirelessly pursue narcotics traffickers, who demonstrate blatant disregard for the addiction and damage to lives they cause.”
Operating as a Major Trafficker – 1 ct
Conspiracy 2nd – 1 ct
CPCS 1st - 1 ct
CPCS 3rd -1 ct
The charges and allegations are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.