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GetSmart About Drugs - A DEA Resource for Parents

News Release
May 27, 2003


DEA New York's Special Agent in Charge Anthony Placido
DEA New York's Special Agent in Charge Anthony Placido

The New York Division of the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is pleased to announce the successful dismantling of a major drug trafficking organization operating in several cities. Charges were filed today in the United States and Colombia against 37 members of an organization responsible for importing heroin into the United States and distributing it in New York City, Newark, NJ and Philadelphia, PA. Simultaneous search warrants were executed in those US cities and in Medellin, Colombia.

The organization smuggled large quantities of heroin, valued at millions of dollars, into the United States, using passenger couriers aboard commercial airlines arriving at John F. Kennedy International Airport. Some couriers would swallow up to one kilogram of heroin contained in balloons and others smuggled the heroin in clothing, shoes, and leather products. The New York members of the organization would then prepare the drugs for distribution throughout the northeast. Prior to today's arrests, the investigation had resulted in the seizure of approximately eight kilograms of high quality heroin in New York, Newark, Philadelphia, and Colombia.

In today's activity in New York, DEA Special Agents, NYPD Detectives, and Amtrak Police Investigators executed four search warrants in the Bronx and seized approximately 4.5 kilograms of heroin, approximately $150,000 cash, three vehicles, and arrested thirteen members of the organization.

Anthony P. Placido, Special Agent In Charge of DEA's New York Division, stated that "today's arrests provide another example of the critical importance of coordination and cooperation to disrupt and dismantle transnational drug syndicates."

The defendants are being prosecuted by the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York. The defendant's are being charged with violations of 21 USC 846 and 21 USC 841, conspiracy to distribute heroin and possession with intent to distribute heroin, respectively. Several of the defendants have prior convictions and violent criminal pasts. If convicted, some of the defendants could receive sentences of up to life imprisonment.

For more information, please contact Special Agent In Charge Anthony P. Placido at (212) 337-2912.


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