One of the largest heroin mills dismantled in New York City: Nine arrested and $330,000 seized
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, New York City Police Commissioner William J. Bratton and George P. Beach II, Superintendent of the New York State Police, announced the seizure of 64 kilograms of packaged heroin (140 lbs.) from a single-family private residence located in the University Heights section of the Bronx.
On June 30, 2016, members of the New York Drug Enforcement Task Force (DETF) and investigators with the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor were conducting surveillance of a three-level residence located at 2115 Harrison Avenue as part of an ongoing heroin investigation. At approximately 3:30 p.m., members of DETF Group T-21 observed two men exit the location carrying two heavily weighted bags; a black gym bag and a white plastic bag. Members of T-21 observed the men carry the bags down the sidewalk and stopped them a short distance away on Harrison Avenue.
After searching the bags, members of T-21 found $50,000 cash wrapped in bundles in a manner consistent with narcotics trafficking proceeds. The two men, FRAN HERNANDEZ and WILLY MONEGRO, were placed under arrest. Another individual, GENDELSON MARRERO, was observed exiting 2115 Harrison Avenue and walking down the street. Agents and officers stopped him at the corner.
Immediately afterwards, as members of T-21 approached the rear of 2115 Harrison Avenue to knock on the door, agents and officers observed several individuals run out the rear of the house and attempt to climb over a fence. Members of T-21 detained CARLOS CABRERA, CESAR CABREJA and ANTONIO JIMENEZ.
In order to secure the residence, members of T-21 entered the back door of the house, which was open, and observed evidence of an exceptionally large, active drug packaging operation, known as a heroin mill. Three additional individuals were hiding throughout the three-bedroom house: ANYELO ASIATICO GERALDINO, CARLOS CONCEPCION PANIAGUI, and YSMAIRY BURGOS.
Agents and officers then awaited a court authorized search warrant, which was obtained by the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor. Members of T-21 dismantled a fully functioning heroin mill that was located in the basement of the house and contained over an estimated one million prepackaged individual dose glassine envelopes of heroin, as well as approximately $250,000.
A substantial amount of packaging equipment was also recovered, including numerous grinders used to process the heroin, packaging materials and face masks. Stamps were used to brand the heroin with names such as Red Bull, Priority Mail, 9 Plus, Speed Limit, ATM and Sweet Dreams.
Glassine envelopes of heroin were piled on tables, packed inside boxes and suitcases, and stuffed into plastic bags. Some of the glassines were already bundled into rectangular packages that were color-coded and wrapped in plastic according to brand name, ready for delivery on the street.
The DEA estimated that the black market value of the heroin at up to $15 million dollars.
The defendants are expected to be arraigned today in Manhattan Criminal Court. One defendant, FRAN HERNANDEZ, was previously arrested in another Bronx heroin mill just 15 weeks ago, and released on bail, only to be charged today after his arrest in another multi-million dollar drug packaging operation.
Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget G. Brennan thanked her office’s Special Investigations Bureau and the DEA’s New York Drug Enforcement Task Force, including members of the New York City Police Department and the New York State Police, for their work on the case. The Port Authority Police Department also assisted in the investigation.
Bridget G. Brennan said, “The volume of heroin packaged for sale in the three-bedroom house in the Bronx is staggering. Investigators estimate that they seized more than a million user-ready glassines meant to flood our region with this deadly drug. This was a highly organized operation, equipped with desk lamps, boxes, the rows and rows of glassines. Heroin filled envelopes were clearly labeled with catchy brand names, like Red Bull and Sweet Dreams, packaged in color-coded neon plastic, and stored in suitcases obviously ready to be transported. These traffickers adopted mainstream marketing ploys and operated with little fear of interference. I congratulate our investigators and the members of the Drug Enforcement Task Force for cutting off the heroin supply coming from this location.”
DEA Special Agent in Charge James J. Hunt stated, “Our investigation led to the dismantlement of a massive heroin mill and seizure of millions of user-ready glassines destined for street distribution on the eve of this Fourth of July weekend. When we entered the location, the heroin was packaged, branded and bundled. Agents and officers estimate that in another 20 minutes, the heroin would have been shipped out the door to be sold on the streets of New York and tri-state areas. Due to the efforts of the men and women on the Drug Enforcement Task Force and NYC Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor millions of doses of heroin were seized, taking millions of fatal risks away from users.”
"With overdoses occurring at an alarming rate, the NYPD and its law enforcement partners have pledged to aggressively pursue those who engage in the heroin trade," said NYPD Commissioner William J. Bratton. "These arrests, and the seizure of more than 60 kilograms of the drug, speaks to our continued commitment."
New York State Police Superintendent George P. Beach II said, "This investigation marks another step forward in our efforts to disrupt the supply chain and slow the delivery of this dangerous, illegal narcotic into our communities. Every day, we witness the devastating effects of heroin on individuals and families, and we remain committed to locking up the criminals who are flooding our neighborhoods with this deadly drug. I want to commend the Special Narcotics Prosecutor and our other partners on the New York Drug Enforcement Task Force for their hard work on this case."
The charges and allegations are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent.Download Press Release (PDF)
Special Narcotics Prosecutor’s Office
DEA, New York Division
New York City Police Department
New York State Police