Cops not only busted two east Bronx residents involved in a major drug ring, they also busted the gas line connected to the next door neighbor’s while looking for hidden drugs and loot in the walls.
Eleven persons, five of them from the Bronx, were arrested in a heroin and cocaine trafficking organization after a year-long investigation, said Bridget Brennan, the city’s Special Narcotics Prosecutor.
A search of what Brennan called a stash house at 228 Revere Ave. in Throggs Neck on Thursday, Jan. 16 turned up two loaded .38 caliber revolvers, 3 kilograms of cocaine (nearly 7 lbs.) and a half-kilogram of heroin (more than 1 lb.).
One of the revolvers, the heroin and 2 1/2 kilograms of cocaine were found inside a hidden trap in a Jacuzzi. The remaining half-kilogram of cocaine was near a pigeon coop on the roof, hidden amidst pigeon supplies. The second revolver was found in a nightstand in the bedroom. Police also seized a money-counter, a kilo-press and other paraphernalia from the location.
They arrested Manuel Ortiz and another person living at the house, near Harding Avenue.
In their search for the drugs, a local source said, the raiders “were banging away at the walls with sledgehammers all over the place.”
Unfortunately, in their enthusiasm, one of the sledgehammers went through a wall right into a gas pipeline.
“It’s going to cost me a couple of hundred dollars probably,” said the neighbor, who asked that her name not be used.
Con Edison crews were working outside the attached townhouses on Monday, digging up the sidewalk to fix the line, but an interior pipe inside her wall will also have to be replaced by a private plumber – at her expense, she said.
But fixing pipes were the least of their worries for Manuel Ortiz, 53, and Karina Vargas, 41, of the house next door, who were both charged with felony criminal possession of controlled substances, weapons and drug paraphernalia, swept up in a yearlong wiretap investigation dubbed “Operation Rebound” involving local, state and federal law enforcement agencies.
Brennan said the big fish caught in the operation was Carlos Medina, 60, of Yonkers, owner of Excellent Watches & Jewelry at 37 West 47th St., charged with catered to drug customers in Manhattan, Queens, the Bronx and Connecticut.
Medina, said Brennan, maintained stash locations for drugs and money at a hi-rise in the Kips Bay section of Manhattan and at 228 Revere. She said Medina, on federal parole stemming from a 1986 conviction on federal conspiracy, drug and firearm charges, “routinely drove a circuit from his then-home in Queens to the Bronx, Manhattan, and back through the Bronx on his return trip to Queens” picking up drugs and money, and meeting with customers along the way.
Members of the organization used coded language to refer to drugs, such as “letters” for narcotics, “girl” for cocaine, and “the boy” for heroin.
Also arrested in the Bronx were Socorro Vivas, 57, of 920 Prospect Ave., Longwood; Radames Coppin, 69, of 3764 Barnes Ave., Wakefield, and Alex Cruz, 60, of
1820 Victor St., Van Nest.