A drug operation that involved Swiffers, cocaine, the Bronx and Puerto Rico was busted earlier this week. In total, law enforcement took 25 pounds of cocaine, a loaded gun and thousands of dollars off the street.
According to the investigation, Jose Velez, 40, is accused of overseeing a cocaine distribution network that operated in part from his residence at 1619 Hone Avenue, Apt. 1, Morris Park.
“The court authorized search of this apartment very likely prevented gun violence, which has plagued our city, and especially the Bronx,” said Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget G. Brennan. “High–level drug trafficking extracts a tragic toll from our communities in violence and lives lost to substance use.”
After observing drug sales going in and out of the apartment, agents obtained a warrant to search the premises. They found two loaded firearms, including an assault weapon, up to 12 pounds of narcotics and $350, 000. Five kilograms of cocaine in an orange plastic bag were also found in a bedroom. Additionally, agents and officers found a loaded assault weapon wrapped in a sheet, a loaded .38 caliber firearm in a dresser, hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash in multiple bags were hidden in a closet and additional quantities of cocaine wrapped in twisted plastic bags.
Two minor children were inside the apartment as well.
They then conducted a court–authorized search of a car they used to transport drugs and recovered two cardboard packing boxes with shipping labels indicating they had originated in Puerto Rico. Each shipping box was addressed to a storage facility and contained a kilogram of cocaine concealed inside a Swiffer Wet Mopping Cloths box. Snack packs surrounded the Swiffer boxes. A third Swiffer box concealing a kilogram of cocaine was also inside the car.
After a review of travel records,agents and officers determined Velez had recently traveled to Puerto Rico. The results of DEA Laboratory analysis on the cocaine in this case are pending.DEA estimates the street value of the cocaine at over $3million.
“This case reflects the NYPD’s continued effort to stop the trafficking of narcotics by targeting those most responsible,” said Police Commissioner Dermot Shea. “I thank the hard–working investigators and our law enforcement partners for insuring these criminal will be held to account for their actions.”
Velez was charged with first degree criminal sale of a controlled substance, third degree criminal possession of a weapon and first degree unlawfully dealing with a child. He was held on bail set at $250,000 cash/$900,000 insurance bond/$900,000 partially secured bond.
His co-defendants, Jordan Worthley of New Jersey and Melina Masullo of NY, NY, were each charged with first and third degrees of criminal possession of a controlled substance.