Man Charged in Sales of Nearly 50 Pounds of Crystal Meth in Manhattan and Queens
Drugs transported from Atlanta, Ga. carried a street value of over $2 million
Nearly 50 pounds of methamphetamine seized before hitting NYC streets
NEW YORK CITY – A North Carolina man is charged with Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Second Degree for allegedly selling 22 kilograms (over 48 pounds) of crystal methamphetamine in Manhattan and Queens during an undercover investigation.
Bridget G. Brennan, New York City’s Special Narcotics Prosecutor, Frank A. Tarentino III, Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration, New York Division, New York City Police Commissioner Keechant L. Sewell and New York State Police Superintendent Kevin P. Bruen announced the arrest following the arraignment of ANDRADE-MORA in Manhattan Criminal Court last night.
The investigation was conducted by the Special Narcotics Prosecutor’s Investigators Unit and DEA’s New York Drug Enforcement Task Force, Group T-23, which is comprised of agents and officers with the DEA New York Division, the NYPD and the New York State Police.
JUVENAL ANDRADE-MORA was arrested on Wednesday, May 11, 2022, at approximately 12:35 p.m. in the vicinity of 539 West 155th Street in Manhattan and is charged in a criminal complaint filed by the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor.
In the days leading up to his arrest, ANDRADE-MORA travelled to New York City from North Carolina and allegedly met with an undercover officer on Monday, May 9, 2022, at 12:40 p.m. at 72-12 Northern Boulevard in Flushing, Queens. ANDRADE-MORA allegedly provided the undercover with one kilogram of crystal meth wrapped inside a green sweatshirt.
ANDRADE-MORA and the undercover arranged for a second meeting and the sale of an additional 19 kilograms of crystal meth for a wholesale price of $11,000 per kilogram, or a combined $220,000.
Agents and officers used electronic surveillance to track ANDRADE-MORA as he returned to North Carolina by bus, and then traveled to Atlanta, Ga. On May 11, ANDRADE-MORA returned to New York.
That day, at approximately 12:35 p.m., ANDRADE-MORA allegedly met with the undercover on West 155th Street in Manhattan, and directed the undercover to a black suitcase in front of 575 West 155th Street, indicating that the drugs were inside the suitcase. The undercover retrieved the bag, and members of SNP’s Investigators Unit and NYDETF Group T-23 arrested ANDRADE-MORA.
The suitcase contained two plastic bags, each with several plastic bags inside containing a white, crystal-like substance. The packages weighed approximately 21 kilograms. Field-testing indicated the substance is crystal methamphetamine. Laboratory test results are pending. Investigators believe the crystal meth originated in Mexico. The street value of the drugs is estimated at over $2 million.
ANDRADE-MORA was arraigned in Manhattan Criminal Court last night and released without bail being set. Under current New York State law, he could not be charged with a bail eligible offense. Methamphetamine is categorized as a controlled substance, but not a narcotic drug. Regardless of the amount of methamphetamine sold or possessed, and regardless of a defendant’s lack of connections to New York State, under current law judges may not set bail on cases involving only methamphetamine.
Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget G. Brennan thanked Manhattan District Attorney Alvin L. Bragg, Jr. and Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz, and commended her office’s Investigators Unit and Special Investigations Bureau, and the New York Drug Enforcement Task Force, including the DEA New York Division, the NYPD and the New York State Police, for their work on the investigation.
“Methamphetamine, a synthetic drug, is a potentially lethal stimulant, which is driving up overdose deaths across the country, according to federal health officials. The increased volume of methamphetamine coming into our city is astonishing, most of it produced in Mexico. Once here, it is mixed with other dangerous drugs and pressed into counterfeit pills. We work tirelessly with law enforcement partners to intercept it at the highest levels, and will work with the state legislature to make sure we have every tool at our disposal to protect New Yorkers from this deadly drug,” said Special Prosecutor Brennan.
"Synthetic drugs are the most powerful and dangerous drugs found on the streets today," said DEA Special Agent in Charge Frank A. Tarentino III. "Fentanyl and methamphetamine are man-made synthetic drugs that have been unleashed on the streets causing overdoses and deaths nationwide. This year DEA New York has seized over 100% more methamphetamine than in 2020 which signifies a concerning shift in the New York drug trade toward methamphetamine."
"Illegal drugs like the ones seized in this investigation poison our communities and destroy lives," said NYPD Commissioner Keechant L. Sewell. "Our department works day and night to rid our streets of these toxins, and we vow to bring anyone who peddles them to justice. I want to thank the Special Narcotics Prosecutor for the City of New York, the DEA New York Division, the New York State Police, and all of our law enforcement partners for their outstanding work on this case."
New York State Police Superintendent Kevin P. Bruen said, "I commend our State Police members and law enforcement partners for their collaboration in the arrest of Mr. Andrade-Mora. Because of this strong partnership, another illegal narcotic operation has been stopped and the dangerous cycle of criminal activities in our neighborhoods has been disrupted. This arrest sends a strong message that the distribution of methamphetamine and other illegal drugs will not be tolerated in New York State."
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The charges and allegations are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.