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GetSmart About Drugs - A DEA Resource for Parents

News Release
January 29, 2003

For Further Information:
Contact: Elizabeth Jordan
(212) 620-4930

New York Division Seizes Approximately 2,000 Kilograms of Cocaine in Queens, New York

DEA Special Agent in Charge Anthony Placido and Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget Brennan DEA Special Agent-In-Charge Anthony P. Placido, and Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget G. Brennan announced the arrest of three Mexican nationals and one Dominican national in connection with the seizure of more than 4000 pounds of cocaine that had been stored in a warehouse in Maspeth Queens. Those arrested in connection with this seizure are expected to be arraigned in Manhattan Criminal Court later today.

The organization of which the defendants are members imported thousands of pounds of cocaine hidden in the walls of a railroad tanker car. The railroad tanker car was delivered to a rail spur alongside a warehouse located at 51-18 Grand Avenue in Maspeth section of Queens in January of 2003. On the evening of Tuesday, January 28, 2003, members of the New York DEA and investigators from the Special Narcotics Prosecutor's Office followed a silver minivan and a Ford Explorer from the warehouse to a parking lot in Maspeth Queens, where the minivan was left by its driver. The driver then got into the Ford Explorer and left. Sometime later, Ramon Caba entered the minivan and drove off. When investigators attempted to stop him, a short chase ensued after which Caba was apprehended near 74th Street and 51st Drive, Queens. When the minivan was searched, investigators found approximately 800 pounds of cocaine. Two occupants of the Ford Explorer, Ricardo Morales and Jose Guttierez were apprehended later that night. Also arrested was Pedro Vasquez-Fierros, who had been at the warehouse earlier.

Shortly thereafter, Supreme Court Justice William Wetzel issued a search warrant for the warehouse. When the investigators searched the warehouse later that night, they recovered approximately 3,200 pounds of cocaine. Investigators also found in the warehouse equipment used to cut open the internal walls of the tanker car, and barrels of vegetable oil that apparently had been siphoned out of the tanker car. The tanker car itself was on a rail spur alongside the warehouse and covered by a makeshift canopy.

The United States Customs Service also participated in the investigation.


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