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Drug Enforcement Administration

New York

Raymond P. Donovan, Special Agent in Charge

February 17, 2021

Contact: Erin Mulvey

Phone Number: (212) 337-2906

Meth Conversion Lab Found in Vacant Bronx Apartment

Law enforcement safely dismantled lab, across from school playground, that was converting 22 pounds of methamphetamine into crystal meth

NEW YORK CITY – A methamphetamine conversion lab was safely dismantled at 3204 Kingsbridge Ave., Apt. 6A, Bronx, NY by members U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and New York City Police Department.  Agents and officers arrested three individuals and seized approximately 22 pounds of methamphetamine, 45 grams of heroin, and 2,000 pills with the appearance of Percocet and oxycodone that will be tested as possible counterfeits. This is the first meth conversion lab that DEA has encountered in New York City.   The case is being prosecuted by New York City’s Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor.

The arrests and charges are being announced by Ray Donovan, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA New York Division; Bridget G. Brennan, New York City’s Special Narcotics Prosecutor; New York City Police Commissioner Dermot F. Shea; and Daniel A. Nigro, Commissioner of the New York City Fire Department. 

According to the DEA, the chemicals found at methamphetamine conversion labs and methamphetamine clandestine labs are highly volatile and may ignite or explode if mixed or stored improperly.  Fire and explosion pose risks not only to the individuals producing the drug but also to anyone in the surrounding area.  Toxic chemical exposure can pose a variety of health risks.  In this case, the conversion lab was located within a large, six-story residential building, directly across the street from a public elementary school.

On Feb. 3, 2021, the NYPD 50th Precinct contacted the DEA New York Division after receiving information about unusual activity at a vacant apartment located at 3204 Kingsbridge Ave., Apt. 6A, Bronx, NY. NYPD’s 50th Precinct Field Intelligence Officers and DEA Group D-32 reviewed security video of Apt. 6A and observed three men, later identified as Inoel Acosta, Luis Reyes and Angel Zepeda entering and exiting Apt. 6A in the preceding weeks, sometimes carrying gallon drums of acetone. On Feb. 3, 2021, security video showed Acosta and Reyes entering Apt. 6A carrying a large blue container. 

Law enforcement confirmed that neither Acosta nor Reyes were legitimate tenants of the vacant apartment and did not have the right to be inside.   Based on the review of security video, NYPD officers detained Acosta and Reyes as they exited 3204 Kingsbridge Ave. at 6:59 p.m. on Feb. 3, 2021.

DEA’s Clandestine Laboratory Team, FDNY, NYPD 50th Precinct and DEA Group D-32 responded to the apartment. Members of NYPD and FDNY vacated the neighboring apartments on the floor for safety precautions. 

Upon entering Apt. 6A, agents and officers immediately smelled acetone and observed a makeshift methamphetamine laboratory in a non-furnished, vacant apartment.  Agents and officers found a large metal pot on the stove burner with a sifter containing crystal meth.  In addition, 12 bricks (weighing approximately 20 pounds) of methamphetamine powder in reusable shopping bags were located under the sink.  Law enforcement recovered clear plastic bags containing crystal meth (approximately 2 pounds), approximately 45 grams of heroin, and thousands of pills from a cabinet above the sink. 

Also recovered were two types of pills, those with the appearance of oxycodone pills were blue, round, and had a letter M on one side and the number 30 on the other; and those with the appearance of Percocet pills were yellow in color and rectangular in shape that were marked with 10/325 on one side and E712 on the other.   Counterfeit versions of these pills are frequently sold on the black market and later found to contain other substances, such as the potent synthetic opioid fentanyl. The pills will be tested for fentanyl by the DEA’s Northeast Regional Laboratory.  There were also scales and a thermometer in the kitchen. 

Over the next week, further investigation and review of video surveillance showed Zepeda unlocking the door to Apt. 6A and carrying supplies used to convert methamphetamine into crystal meth into the apartment with Acosta on Jan. 15, 2021.  The supplies appeared to include a baking tray, large blue cooler, and a large cooking pot.     Zepeda is the superintendent for the building located at 3204 Kingsbridge Ave.

On Feb. 11, 2021 agents and officers arrested Zepeda at lobby of 3204 Kingsbridge Ave. at 1:40 p.m. 

A criminal complaint filed by the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor charges Acosta and Reyes with Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the First, Second, Third and Fifth Degrees, Burglary in the Third Degree and Criminally Using Drug Paraphernalia in the Second Degree. They were both arraigned in Manhattan Criminal Court on Feb. 5, 2021 and held on bail. Zepeda is charged with Criminal Facilitation in the Second Degree. Zepeda was arraigned on Feb. 12, 2021 in Manhattan Criminal Court and released on supervised release.

“This isn’t breaking bad, but it is a bad sign that methamphetamine is trying to make a home in New York City,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Ray Donovan.  “If the latest reports of increases in drug-related overdose deaths don’t scare you, crystal meth conversion labs in New York City should. As the Mexican drug trafficking networks continue to push methamphetamine across the nation towards New York, DEA and our law enforcement partners will continue to interdict the shipments, dismantle distribution networks, and save lives.” 

Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget G. Brennan said, “It is rare – and extremely dangerous - to discover a methamphetamine conversion lab in a densely populated area like New York City. Improperly handled chemicals emit toxic fumes, spark fires and can even explode. In this case, the lab was located in a large, six-story apartment building, directly across the street from a public elementary school.  I commend members of DEA, the NYPD and the FDNY for moving quickly to protect the community by dismantling this hazardous operation, and thank my office’s Special Investigations Bureau and Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark.”

“Together our NYPD investigators and law enforcement partners worked swiftly in this case to arrest these defendants and shut down their alleged trade in illegal narcotics. This case illustrates our sustained efforts to fight crime and relentlessly seize the kind of illegal drugs that endangered this Bronx community and are a threat to all New Yorkers,” said Police Commissioner Dermot Shea.

“Illegal drug labs where chemicals are used to produce narcotics pose grave dangers for New Yorkers and first responders, including the men and women of the FDNY,” said Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro. “Thanks to the excellent work of law enforcement and the actions of FDNY members who responded, this illegal operation was shut down safely without injury.”

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

 

Defendants

Charges

Inoel Acosta

New York, NY

Age: 35

CPCS 1st – 1 ct

CPCS 2nd – 1 ct

CPCS 3rd – 2 cts

CPCS 5th – 1 ct

Burglary 3rd – 1 ct

Criminally Using Drug Paraphernalia 2nd – 1 cts

Luis Reyes

New York, NY

Age: 26

CPCS 1st – 1 ct

CPCS 2nd – 1 ct

CPCS 3rd – 2 cts

CPCS 5th – 1 ct

Burglary 3rd – 1 ct

Criminally Using Drug Paraphernalia 2nd – 1 cts

Angel Zepeda

Bronx, NY

Age: 49

Criminal Facilitation 2nd – 1 ct

 

 

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