Fifteen Bronx residents were among 25 people indicted Friday in Bronx Supreme Court as part of a wide-reaching heroin trafficking operation through New York and Massachusetts from Mexico.
NYS Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced the arrests Friday morning at a press conference in Manhattan, joined by law enforcement officials from New York, Massachusetts and the Drug Enforcement Agency.
“Our message to dealers and traffickers is simple: we will not tolerate anyone smuggling death into our state,” Schneiderman said.
The multi-agency investigation, ‘Operation Dirty Dope,’ led to the arrest of Bronx residents Argenis Grullon; Reymon Rivera Ortiz; Francisco Martinez Reyes; Edwin Nunez Sierra; Manuel Castillano; Manuel Amparo; Tomas Salinas; Hector Diaz; Gisette Hernandez; Yeimy Matias; Fernando Suero; Juan Miguel Marte Javier; Carlos Alberto Borges Perez; Jose R. Rodriquez and Luis Martinez.
Also arrested were three Suffolk County residents – Luis Aude-Mora, Oscarhyl Martinez Aude, Manuel Torres, Amauris Sanchez – as well as residents of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Arizona.
Schneiderman said suspects arrested showed total disregard for their customers, cutting their products with chemicals including chicken anesthetic, Novocain, acetone, nail polish remover and even roach killer to increase product and profit.
They used customers as guinea pigs to test their product to see which were too deadly to mass produce, he added.
“They knew they were dealing in death – they were proud of it,” Schneiderman said.
Also confiscated were 300 grams of cocaine, two semi-automatic weapon and eight vehicles, four of which contain sophisticated concealed compartments, or ‘traps,’ designed for the purpose of smuggling drugs that could only be opened using special remotes.
Confiscated during the investigation, which used confidential informants, wiretaps, and physical and video surveillance, were 33 kilos of heroin and 2 kilos of another powerful opioid, Fentanyl, together worth a total street value of more than $13 million, according to Schneiderman’s office.
The AG thanked the members of the 52nd Precinct, who he said played a vital role in the investigation.
NYPD officials declined to comment in the investigation since Schneiderman’s office was lead agency.
Councilman Fernando Cabrera praised the arrests.
“I am encouraged by the work of the Bronx District Attorney, the NYPD 52nd Precinct and the community organizations and leaders who toil daily against this challenge,” he said. We will continue to work together to build a safe, healthy community.”
Cabrera also said he would continue to try to fight the scourge of drugs in the community.
“This year I have provided funds for additional security cameras throughout Council District 14 and $4.6 million dollars for youth, education, violence and gang prevention, and parks and recreation services. Our youth must see options and opportunities that lead to a bright future.”
The drug shipments went from Mexico to Tuscon, AZ, where it was tranported to the Bronx and then north to central Massachusetts, where opioid abuse has reached epidemic levels
Those charged as major traffickers could face life in prison if convicted, while others could face 8 to 25 years, according to Schneiderman.