Pelham Parkway teddy bear drug bust

In photos released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the public can see how packets of heroin were allegedly put into the stuffing of teddy bears and then sold. The DEA lead a sting at five locations in the Bronx on Friday, July 3. Photos by the Associated Press

They are cute and cuddly, but the feds say the stuffing of these teddy bears was filled with a deadly drug.

The federal Drug Enforcement Agency in conjunction with the NYPD broke up a ring that was allegedly filling Build-A-Bear brand toys with heroin. Twelve people were arrested at locations around the Bronx on Friday, July 3.

According to the DEA, apartment 6K at 1540 Pelham Parkway South served as the heroin-processing center. At another location, apartment D4, 4254 Carpenter Avenue, the drugs were stuffed into the bears, the DEA said.

“Heroin use in the tri-state area is on the rise, resulting in the overdose deaths of teenagers and young adults,” DEA Special Agent in Charge John P. Gilbride stated. “To transport heroin, which is poison to our children, in teddy bears is an indication of how those arrested devalue the life of our children.”

Gilbride added: “With the seizure of approximately 30 pounds of heroin valued at $30 million dollars this investigation has saved the lives of teenagers and young adults in the New York area by shutting down a poisonous death mill.”

According to the DEA, there were five locations around the Bronx that were part of months long investigation, including the apartment of whom they said was the ringleader of the group, Yeffrey Alba. Alba’s residence at 735 Pelham Parkway North was also searched, as were two other locations.

“Even though this drug bust occurred further up the parkway, we were glad to hear about it,” said Edith Blitzer, president of the Pelham Parkway South Neighborhood Association.

The defendants, all from the Bronx, have been charged with Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the First Degree, Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree, Conspiracy in the Second Degree, and Criminal Use of Drug Paraphernalia in the Second Degree. They were arraigned in federal court in Manhattan.

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