Heroin-laced Fentanyl Operation Dismantled across the Street from Public School 115 in Manhattan
Bridget G. Brennan, New York City’s Special Narcotics Prosecutor, James J. Hunt, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) New York Division and New York City Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill announced three arrests and the seizure of one and a half to three kilograms of pre-packaged individual dose glassine envelopes filled with suspected heroin-laced fentanyl across the street from P.S. 115 in Manhattan.
On September 14, 2017 at approximately 6:30 p.m., members of the DEA New York Division Group D-34, Investigators from the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor and the New York City Police Department’s (NYPD) 50th Precinct Narcotics Conditions Unit were conducting surveillance on 575 West 177th Street, an apartment building mid-block on West 177th between Audubon Avenue and Saint Nicholas Avenue, directly across from P.S. 115. Surveillance units observed defendant ANDRES CORDERO and JOSE LUIS LUGO exit 575 West 177th Street, Apartment 22, Manhattan, N.Y. As CORDERO and LUGO walked towards a waiting livery cab in front of the building, DEA agents and investigators approached and identified themselves. Agents and officers recovered a plastic bag wrapped with blue tape containing approximately 100 grams of heroin.
A search warrant was obtained by the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor (SNP) for 575 West 177th Street, Apartment 22. At approximately 7:50 p.m., officers and investigators conducted a court authorized search and recovered a grey suitcase and a red duffle bag from a bedroom closet. Investigators seized approximately 5,000 prepackaged glassines of heroin/fentanyl and three clear plastic bags containing tan powdery substance, weighing one and a half to three kilograms from the red duffle bag.
Ten boxes of empty glassines, rolls of duct tape, nail filler and plastic bags with residue were also recovered from inside the red duffle bag. The grey suitcase contained more supplies traditionally used with heroin mills, including ink pads with ink refills, scotch tape, grinders, sifters, 13 kilo stamps. Also seized were dozens of stamps used for branding glassine envelopes with names such as "Daily News," "Godzilla," "Planet of the Apes," "Empire," "Stink Face," "Spiderman," "X-men" and "Showtime," among others. One occupant inside Apartment 22, ANAURY BURGOS, was placed under arrest.
Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget G. Brennan thanked her office’s Special Investigations Bureau (SIB) and Investigators Unit, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration New York Division and the New York City Police Department.
Ms. Brennan said, “Given its lethal potential, it is especially frightening to find a fentanyl packaging operation in an apartment building directly across from an elementary school. We will continue to work tirelessly with our law enforcement partners to upend criminal organizations promoting death and addiction.”
DEA Special Agent in Charge James J. Hunt said, “With their traveling heroin mill concealed in a suitcase, this organization had the capability to move quickly to other strategic locations in the city. In this case, law enforcement was able to shut down their operation which had set up shop directly across from P.S. 115.”
The charges and allegations are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
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Special Narcotics Prosecutor’s Office
New York City Police Department
DEA New York Division