Police busted a huge pot-growing operation in Van Nest, yielding 593 marijuana plants.
Bronx Narcotics, working in conjunction with the 49th Precinct, executed a search warrant at 610 Morris Park Avenue at approximately 1 p.m. on Tuesday, January 24 and confiscated the illegal plants, some of which stood seven feet tall, a police spokesman said.
The five-story warehouse also yielded 75 pounds of processed marijuana that was ready for sale on the street, for a total weight of approximately 1550 pounds of pot, the police spokesman said.
About $3,000,000 in sales could have occurred over the past year from pot grown at this location, with about $250,000 in street sales possible every month, the police spokesman said.
Neighbors in Van Nest first became suspicious when they saw trucks entering and exiting the bays of the building in the late evening and early morning hours, said community activist Joe Bombace.
“This marijuana operation was a low-key enterprise that bypassed detection by locals because of the late night activity of the trucks pertaining to the alleged business at that address,” Bombace stated. “It was all a smokescreen for an illegal purpose.”
Based on information from police sources, Bombace said that it is believed that three of the warehouse’s five levels were used for growing pot, with one floor dedicated to seedling plants, a second used for maturing plants, and a third for fully mature pot plants, Bombace stated.
Police arrested three men believed to be involved in the pot growing and distribution operation: Victor Reyes, 23; Diego Reyes, 23; and Brian Munoz, 24. All three were charged with three felony counts of criminal possession of marijuana, along with two misdemeanors of the same charge.
According to the complaint report, the third floor of the location contained 132 marijuana plants, the fourth floor contained 319 plants, and the fifth floor contained 72 plants.
When the bust was made, all three men fled from a room on the second floor, and police gave chase, with some suspects throwing objects including keys off the roof of the building, before finally being apprehended by police.
The warehouse was formally home to the Indian Head Moving and Storage Company, said Bernadette Ferrara of the Van Nest Neighborhood Alliance.
It was really surprising that such an elaborate drug operation was found at that location, Ferrara said, indicating that she is concerned that there could be other things like the drug mill operating in the community.
“One of the things that the Van Nest Neighborhood Alliance is going to do is to look into the landlords who own buildings in the area,” Ferrara stated. “We will be dealing with the types of landlords we have and especially looking into the absentee ones.”