By Emily Davenport
A west Bronx man was charged for allegedly trafficking opioids and methamphetamine from his home, officials announced on Monday.
Juan Perez-Pichardo, 50, was arrested on Aug. 13 and later indicted on charges of Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the First, Second, Third and Fifth Degrees and Criminally Using Drug Paraphernalia in the Second Degree.
“The excellent investigative work of attorneys and law enforcement officers undoubtedly saved lives. We seized large quantities of a substance with highly lethal potential – a combination of highly potent stimulants mixed with powerful narcotics – and all the equipment needed to put 50,000 stamped bags filled with it out on the street for sale,” said Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget G. Brennan.
According to court documents, on Aug. 13 members of DEA’s New York Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Strike Force, Group Z-13, followed out an authorized search of Perez Pichardo’s basement apartment at 2400 Walton Avenue. They entered through the rear courtyard area of the apartment building and observed a sign posted on the door of the target apartment indicating a storage/maintenance area while Perez-Pichardo was inside the apartment.
During the search, agents allegedly uncovered a hidden compartment carved into the wall of a shower area, located adjacent to the kitchen, that contained multiple brick-shaped packages of a brown powdery substance. Another brick-shaped package wrapped in a comforter was found in a bedroom closet. In total, nearly four pounds of suspected narcotics were allegedly recovered, as well as 10 bottles of liquid ketamine (a general anesthetic), quinine (an anti-malaria agent) and $1,000 cash.
Testing by the NYPD lab allegedly determined that the packages contained a mixture of heroin, fentanyl and tramadol and methamphetamine, while a third brick contained heroin, fentanyl and tramadol. The combination of opioids with a stimulant could easily cause an unsuspecting user to overdose.
The apartment also allegedly contained all of the equipment necessary to mix the substances, including a kilo press, scales, grinder, ink pads, stamps and thousands of empty individual-dose glassine envelopes. The drugs seized could have yielded at least 50,000 individual doses worth approximately $500,000 on the street. Perez-Pichardo was arrested that day.
“With a half million dollars’ worth of narcotics hidden throughout his apartment, Perez-Pichardo is alleged to have had enough stashed for fifty thousand potential lethal overdoses. These are deadly drugs, made even deadlier by the substances these traffickers were allegedly adding to this “home brew” of narcotics,” said Peter C. Fitzhugh, Special Agent in Charge of HSI New York. “HSI’s partnership with DEA, NYPD and all the Strike Force partners allows for a continuous flow of information in investigations which in turn takes deadly drugs of the street and out of the hands of our city’s most vulnerable.”