Bridget G. Brennan, New York City’s Special Narcotics Prosecutor, James J. Hunt, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s New York Division (DEA), New York City Police Commissioner William J. Bratton and Joseph A. D’Amico, Superintendent of the New York State Police, announced two major seizures of heroin worth more than $12 million dollars and nine arrests.
These seizures totaled approximately 25 kilograms of heroin (55 lbs.) and are the result of two unrelated, short-term investigations conducted by the New York Drug Enforcement Task Force (DETF) and the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor since August. New York DETF is comprised of agents and officers with the DEA New York Division, the New York City Police Department (NYPD) and the New York State Police.
The two investigations are representative examples of how drug traffickers flood New York City and the greater metropolitan area with heroin. Each case illustrates a different stage in the distribution chain.
Today, a Queens trucking company owner and a truck driver are scheduled to be arraigned in Manhattan Supreme Court on an indictment that charges Conspiracy and Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance. The pair allegedly conspired to transport 15 kilograms of heroin (33 pounds) from California to Hauppauge, Long Island inside a tractor trailer. They were arrested by members of DETF on August 26, 2014. The heroin was intended for distribution in New York City and Long Island.
On Thursday, September 25, 2014, in an unrelated case, members of DETF Group T-11 seized approximately 10 kilograms (22 pounds) of heroin from a vehicle and an apartment on Boynton Avenue in the Bronx. The apartment served as a heroin “mill”, where large quantities of the drug are processed and packaged in user-ready “glassine” envelopes. Seven individuals were arrested.
Queens Trucking Company Owner and Driver Indicted: Conspiracy to Transport Heroin to New York from California
As a result of a month-long investigation, on August 26, 2014 members of DETF Group T-42 arrested Queens trucking company owner DORIAN CABRERA and a truck driver JEEN BLAKE. Agents seized approximately 15 kilograms (33 pounds) of heroin from a tractor trailer and more than $300,000 cash. Agents found the heroin concealed in a “trap”, or hidden compartment, on the back wall of the truck’s cab. The heroin was formed into rectangular kilos and into the shape of shoe soles.
CABRERA, owner of Good Guys Transport Corp., based in Rosedale, Queens, and BLAKE, a truck driver employed by CABRERA, were scheduled to be arraigned on the indictment today before Judge Bruce Allen in Part 45, Manhattan Supreme Court.
In the week leading up to August 26, 2014, agents developed information that the tractor trailer was travelling to Southern California to pick up a load of narcotics. BLAKE allegedly delivered $750,000 cash to an individual in Riverside, Calif. and received the 15 kilograms of heroin.
Agents tracked the truck as BLAKE drove back across the country to New York, where he arrived on August 26, 2014. The DEA’s New England Division Aviation Unit assisted in the surveillance.
BLAKE entered New York City via Staten Island and ended up in Long Island, where he had arranged to deliver the narcotics to CABRERA at a parking lot at 680 Old Willets Pt. Path in Hauppauge. CABRERA drove into the parking lot and parked next to the tractor trailer. Agents observed CABRERA remove a duffle bag from his vehicle, a 2014 Honda Crossfire, and meet with BLAKE.
Both men entered the cab of the truck and were taken into custody soon thereafter. BLAKE had a tool used to open hidden traps on his person at the time. The truck, which contained a load of wooden pallets in addition to the heroin, was removed to DEA headquarters in Manhattan. Agents also seized CABRERA’s vehicle and $10,000 cash.
That evening, agents searched CABRERA’s residence at 243-18 134th Avenue in Rosedale, Queens, which shares the same address as Good Guys Transport, and seized approximately $190,000 cash, as well as some high-end jewelry. An additional $107,000 was seized from a safety deposit box maintained by CABRERA’s wife at a Chase Bank branch located in Valley Stream, Long Island.
Assisting in the investigation were agents and officers with the DEA’s New England Division Aviation Unit and the Port Authority Police Department.
The heroin is believed to have been headed to user markets in New York City, where a single user-ready glassine envelop sells for between $5 and $10, and in Long Island, where a single bag fetches up to $20.
Boynton Avenue Mill: Heroin Packaged for Street-Level Distribution Seized from Vehicle and Apartment
On the evening of September 25, 2014, as a result of a short-term investigation, agents with DEFT Group T-11 established surveillance in the vicinity of Boynton Avenue in the Bronx. At approximately 8:10 p.m., officers observed a target of the investigation, JOSE DEJESUS, enter 1049 Boynton Avenue and come out with a laundry bag that appeared to be heavily weighted. DEJESUS placed the bag inside the trunk of a Toyota Camry and then entered the front passenger seat of the vehicle, which was being operated by DAVID SANCHEZ.
Members of DETF stopped the car and received permission to search the trunk. Inside they found multiple brick-shaped packages wrapped in paper, each containing numerous individual glassine envelopes. These packages are estimated to have held approximately 7 kilograms of heroin. This heroin was packaged for distribution to street-level organizations. Further investigation revealed the heroin had come from Apt. 3B.
Agents and officers subsequently obtained a court authorized Special Narcotics search warrant for 1049 Boynton Avenue, Apt. 3B. The investigation revealed that DEJESUS oversaw a heroin mill at the apartment, which is in close proximity to several major thoroughfares. Upon entering the premises, agents observed alleged mill workers JOSE-RAFAEL MEDINA, JUAN ESTEVEZ-TAVARES and EDGAR ESTEVEZ-TAVARAS inside. Defendants SAVIG SUERO-SABINON and CARLOS GARCIA were seen exiting the apartment. All five were detained.
In a search of the apartment, agents and officers seized another 3 kilograms of heroin. Much of the heroin was packaged in a similar fashion to the heroin found in the car. Glassines of heroin were stamped with various brand names, including “Prada”, “Audi”, “Pinky Dinky” and “Sin City.” Agents and officers also seized three plastic bags of loose heroin, thousands of empty glassine envelopes and other equipment, such as respiratory masks and coffee grinders, which are used to process the heroin.
The defendants were arraigned Friday evening in Manhattan Criminal Court. Bail for JOSE DEJESUS was set at $400,000 bond/$200,000 cash, while bail for the other six defendants was set at $150,000 bond/$75,000 cash each.
Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget G. Brennan thanked the DEA, the NYPD and the New York State Police.
“All of our partners in law enforcement work tirelessly to rein in the flood of heroin entering our city. The two seizures announced here today reflect excellent, dedicated investigative work,” said Ms. Brennan. “However, it is not a time to congratulate ourselves, but to redouble our efforts and call on everyone to do their part. The heroin epidemic can’t be reined by law enforcement alone.”
Acting Special Agent in Charge James J. Hunt stated, “NYC is the ultimate target for heroin traffickers; it has everything they want –access to thruways along the Northeast, easily concealed stash houses and hidden heroin mills, established transportation routes for distribution and an opioid dependent consumer population. But law enforcement is fighting back by pooling our resources to intercept their product and destroy their profit. These two recent heroin seizures and arrests are representative of law enforcement’s efforts to seize heroin and get it off the streets – which is one of the first steps in combatting heroin abuse.”
Police Commissioner William J. Bratton said, “I want to commend the team of investigators and prosecutors for their quick actions resulting in two significant heroin seizures. These arrests stopped this highly addictive opioid drug from flooding our communities and prevented senseless overdoses that stem from heroin addiction.”
New York State Police Superintendent Joseph A. D'Amico said, “The work of the New York Drug Enforcement Task Force during these two investigations stopped these dangerous drugs before they could reach the streets of New York. State Police members each day see the harmful effects of heroin on individuals, families and our neighborhoods. We pledge to continue to work with our partners in law enforcement to keep drugs out of our communities. Thanks to the work of the DETF partners, we have seized 25 kilograms of heroin worth $12 million, put nine people behind bars, and put two dangerous operations out of business.”
The charges and allegations are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.Download Press Release (pdf)
Special Narcotics Prosecutor’s Office
New York City Police Department
DEA, New York Division
New York State Police