DEA Seizes $50M of Heroin in The Bronx
"The amount that he was bringing into New York City-we believe at least on a monthly basis and maybe every two weeks-was just tremendous and there can’t be that many Jose Mercedes IN New York City so this is going to make hugea dent, " said Special Prosecutor Bridget Brennan.
During the raid, officials said, agents also seized more than $2 million in cash hidden under the floor of another Bronx apartment near the exclusive Fieldston neighborhood. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service.
Jose A. "Hippie" Mercedes, 46, of Bronx River Road in Yonkers, was arrested Sunday on charges of being the head of a multimillion-dollar heroin trafficking operation, according to the DEA.
The 70 packages of heroin has a street value of $50 million, the DEA said, but that is a conservative estimate.
"This was not a distribution organization, this was a major heroin importation organization, " Brennan said.
Over the weekend, agents followed Mercedes and Cruz Francisco as they drove a Chevy Suburban to an industrial parking lot in Montville, New Jersey.
With wiretaps in place, law enforcement officials learned a "sizeable shipment" of heroin was coming to a New York City apartment once a month through a Mexican drug cartel named the Sinaloa Cartel, the DEA said.
The year-long probe included the NYPD, the city special narcotics prosecutor, state police, DEA, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Homeland Security Investigations.
The largest heroin bust in New York state history has a link to Westchester's largest city.
After a drug-sniffing dog detected drugs inside the parked SUV, agents stopped Mercedes for questioning as he pulled up in a car that contained a smaller amount of heroin, authorities said.
They have both been charged with "Operating as a major trafficker" and criminal possession of a controlled substance.
New York had quashed its reputation as the heroin capital of the United States in the 1970s and 1980s.
A search of the Suburban resulted in the recovery of 70 kilograms - about 154 pounds - inside two compartments, authorities said.
Mercedes and Francisco were held without bail and there was no immediate response to a message left on Tuesday with their defense attorney. Their next court date is set for Friday.