Investigation Division

Physician Charged in Massive Oxycodone Scheme at Bronx Pain Clinic
Gramercy Center Pumped $10 Million in Pills onto Interstate Market
Over 250 Guns Sold in New York City’s Largest Firearms Investigation
50 Members of Warring Gangs Arrested in the Bronx
Kingpin Convicted in $1.5 Million Cocaine Seizure near Midtown Hotel
Colombian Kingpin Extradited in New York Heroin Trafficking Scheme
Nearly $200,000 in Crystal Meth Seized in Chinatown
Kingpin Among Eight Indicted for Smuggling Millions of Dollars in Heroin
$3 Million in Drugs and Cash, 2 Guns, Seized Near Horace Mann School
Rikers Island Correction Officer Sentenced to 8 Years for Bribe Receiving
Pizza Delivery Man Served “Coke” with Slices: $45K in Cocaine Sold
Police Clip Barbershop Cocaine Ring in the Bronx

Trial Division

$8 Million in Heroin Seized in the Bronx
Rx Pills, Cocaine and 4 Guns: Brooklyn and Staten Island
Rx Trafficking Ring Ran Brooklyn Practices: $3.4 Million in Pills
Over $2 Million in Heroin and Crystal Meth, and Firearm, Seized from Trio
Harlem Doctor Sold Painkiller Prescriptions to Drug Ring
Cobble Hill Office Manager Sold Rxs for $165,000 in Pills
Curtain Closes on Citywide Cocaine Ring
Harlem Stash: Pit Bulls, Python, Pot, Guns and Cash
Traffickers Smuggle Narcotics through U.S. Mail: Day Care Centers Searched

Investigation Division

Physician Charged in Massive Oxycodone Scheme at Bronx Pain Clinic

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A doctor sold prescriptions to drug crews at Astramed Physicians in the Bronx – the city’s largest pill mill.
Agents seized a firearm from the Yonkers motel room where the doctor was living.

Since June 2012, Terdiman wrote over 18,000 prescriptions for oxycodone to over 4,200 individuals, none of which are believed to be legitimate. The doctor allegedly conspired with “recruiters,” who supplied a steady flow of purported “patients” to obtain prescriptions for oxycodone. The prescriptions were then filled at pharmacies and the pills sold on the black market. On weekday mornings, security guards performed crowd control on the sidewalk and inside the medical offices and waiting rooms. Federal prosecutors focused a related investigation on Astramed owner Dr. Kevin Lowe and the drug rings supplied by Terdiman. Following the arrests, a superseding federal indictment also incorporated charges against Terdiman and state charges were dismissed at the request of SNP.

A Bronx pain clinic believed to be the region’s largest pill mill was shuttered as a result of long-term investigation by SNP, DEA New York Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York. An SNP indictment charged Dr. Robert Terdiman, a licensed internist, with illegally selling thousands of prescriptions for oxycodone from Astramed Physicians, PC, in the Morrisania section of the Bronx. Terdiman sold prescriptions to undercover officers on eight occasions. Agents also seized a firearm from a motel room in Yonkers, N.Y., where Terdiman was living.

Gramercy Center Pumped $10 Million in Pills onto Interstate Market

A Gramercy physician and his office manager were among 49 individuals arrested in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania in connection with the illegal trafficking of $10 million in oxycodone pills. Dr. Hector Castro, founder of the Itzamna Medical Center on East 16th Street, and his office manager Patricia Valera are charged in two separate prescription-related criminal schemes that together led to the diversion of well over 500,000 narcotic pills onto the black market . Thirty firearms were seized by DEA agents and partner law enforcement agencies in Pennsylvania during the 15-month investigation.

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DEA agents arrested the founder of the Itzamna Medical Center on East 16th Street in Manhattan, while officers seized weapons and pills from drug trafficking crews in Pennsylvania.

Castro supplied groups in New York and New Jersey. The doctor personally sold 28 narcotic painkiller prescriptions to an undercover investigator from Special Narcotics, including prescriptions written in the names of individuals who were not present. Castro never performed any physical examinations on the undercover officer or referred him for medical tests.

At least two New Jersey residents who received prescriptions from Castro’s office died of drug overdoses. These deaths are the subject of an ongoing investigation. Meanwhile, Valera sold prescriptions to two rival crews in Pennsylvania. Of the 49 individuals arrested in the investigation, 41 were members of these violent Pennsylvania drug rings and are being prosecuted by the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office. Additionally, 28 of the 30 firearms seized in the case were recovered during court authorized searches in Pennsylvania.

Over 250 Guns Sold in New York City’s Largest Firearms Investigation

An investigation into narcotics sales in Brooklyn led to the largest gun case in New York City history. Nineteen members of two loosely-organized gun trafficking groups were indicted for illegally funneling firearms from North and South Carolina. The guns were intended for resale on the city’s black market, where they fetch at least three times their original price. During the long-term wiretap investigation, 254 illegal weapons were sold to an undercover with the NYPD’s Firearms Investigation Unit for over $200,000. Two main defendants, Walter Walker, of North Carolina, and Earl Campbell, of South Carolina, personally smuggled the guns inside their luggage on Chinatown-bound buses. Each trafficker tapped a network of individuals in his home town with access to black market weapons or the willingness to purchase guns, knowing they would be illegally resold in New York City. In at least one instance, an individual acted as a straw buyer and shopped at gun stores for Walker. Firearms ran the gamut from .22 caliber pistols to assault weapons.

Criminal associates in New York City assisted the gun traffickers in securing buyers and conducting sales. A rap studio in the Ocean Hill section of Brooklyn was the scene of 11 gun sales, while other sales were made in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Special Narcotics announced this case with the NYPD, the Mayor’s Office, and partner District Attorneys’ Offices in Manhattan and Brooklyn.

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Among the 254 guns sold to an undercover detective with the NYPD’s Firearms Investigation Unit were 10 assault weapons. The guns were smuggled to New York City from North and South Carolina.

A 552-count Special Narcotics indictment charged the defendants with Conspiracy, Criminal Sale of a Firearm, Criminal Possession of a Weapon and other crimes. The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office is overseeing the prosecutions post-arrest.

50 Members of Warring Gangs Arrested in the Bronx

Fifty leaders and members of four warring gangs in the Morrisania section of the Bronx were indicted and arrested over the past two years, as a result of collaboration between the Special Narcotics Gang Unit, the Bronx District Attorney’s Office and the New York City Police Department’s (NYPD) 44th Precinct Field Intelligence Division. Investigations targeting the crews “Dub City,” “WTG,” “6 Wild” and “280” led to the seizure of 24 guns. Since at least 2011, these gangs were linked to 34 shooting incidents in which 43 individuals were shot. Gang members brazenly fired their weapons in public areas, including busy streets, at apartment buildings and in one case into a crowded restaurant. Several victims were innocent bystanders. Drugs sold by members of these four crews included heroin, cocaine, crack, PCP, marijuana and various prescription medications. Money from drug sales was used to buy firearms and support a high-end lifestyle.

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Members of four warring gangs used social media to boast and attract new recruits. Money from drug sales was used to buy firearms and support a high-end lifestyle.

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These cases involved investigation of violent incidents and a close examination of evidence obtained from text messages and social media, which gang members used to fuel violent rivalries, boast about victories and attract new recruits . As four successive waves of arrests occurred, the NYPD’s 44th Precinct experienced a significant decline in shootings. Between 2011 and 2013, the 44th Precinct recorded a dramatic 34% drop in overall shootings. (Overall shootings include incidents in which one or more individuals are shot, and are not limited to gang-related shootings.) Shootings attributed specifically to these four gangs dropped by 75%.

Kingpin Convicted in $1.5 Million Cocaine Seizure near Midtown Hotel

A trial jury convicted drug kingpin Robert Adrian in connection with a scheme to smuggle over a million dollars in cocaine from Puerto Rico to New York. Adrian was sentenced to eight years in prison with five years of post-release supervision for Operating as a Major Trafficker. In May 2011, agents and officers with the New York Drug Enforcement Task Force seized approximately 43 kilos (nearly 95 lbs .) of cocaine worth $1 .5 million in Midtown Manhattan . Agents observed drug couriers loading duffel bags of narcotics into a vehicle near the Hampton Inn at 51st Street and 8th Avenue. They recovered 37 kilos from the bags and another 6 kilos from a matching duffel bag inside a room registered to one of the couriers at the Hampton Inn. A five-month investigation revealed that this large shipment of cocaine was one of several that Adrian took possession of in New York. Adrian directed a circle of drug workers, who were to receive, process, and distribute the cocaine.

A member of Adrian’s organization was also convicted at trial. A judge declared a mistrial as to a third defendant, Jose Cruz-Ortiz, after jurors were unable to reach a verdict in his case. Ortiz was an inmate in a federal prison in Puerto Rico during the conspiracy . Charges against him are still pending.

Colombian Kingpin Extradited in New York Heroin Trafficking Scheme

Drug kingpin Sergio Zuilanny Gordillo Joya was extradited to New York to face charges for smuggling millions of dollars of heroin bound for New York via the Port of Miami. Joya had been held in Argentina, where he lived as a fugitive after fleeing authorities in Colombia. A second defendant who reported to Joya, Luis Fernando Galleano Gasca, was extradited from Bogota, Colombia. A DEA- led wiretap investigation revealed that Joya intended to transport a large heroin shipment to New York City. Agents used information from email exchanges between Joya and his cohorts to locate and seize 16 kilos of heroin (over 35 lbs.) from a freight ship, the “Seaboard Pride,” as it docked in Miami in 2012. A total of 34 packages of heroin were found hidden inside four couches, which were packed in a shipping container.

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Agents found packages of heroin hidden inside a shipment of couches aboard a freight ship in Miami.

A third defendant was arrested in New York and a fourth is contesting extradition in Colombia. Joya is charged with Operating as a Major Trafficker under New York State’s kingpin statute, which carries a possible life sentence.

Nearly $200,000 in Crystal Meth Seized in Chinatown

Four members of a drug trafficking group that operated in Manhattan’s Chinatown and in Flushing, Queens were arrested in March after an undercover DEA agent bought three-quarters of a kilo of methamphetamine (nearly 2 lbs.) for $193,000. The arrests followed a six-month wiretap investigation, in which members of the drug ring spoke openly about their illegal business while conversing in Mandarin. The undercover officer made numerous drug purchases from the group during the investigation. The group obtained “crystal meth” from Mexican suppliers. The largest and final sale of methamphetamine took place in the parking lot of a closed Pathmark supermarket on Cherry Street in Chinatown.

Kingpin Among Eight Indicted for Smuggling Millions of Dollars in Heroin

A multi-million dollar drug trafficking organization that smuggled approximately 10 kilos (22 lbs.) of heroin to New York City from Colombia each month was dismantled. The head of the heroin ring, Cruz Aguaviva-Done, is charged under New York State’s kingpin statute and faces a possible life sentence. A wiretap investigation revealed that Aguaviva-Done ordered heroin directly from a Colombian drug organization that had a point person in New York City. On the day of the kingpin’s arrest, DEA agents intercepted a shipment of 4½ kilos (nearly 10 lbs.) of heroin from two brothers who worked for Aguaviva- Done.

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DEA agents seized millions of dollars in heroin, including three kilos found inside an ottoman.

The load carried a street value of more than $1 .2 million. Court authorized searches yielded another 4½ kilos (nearly 10 lbs.) on the day of the arrests. Several months earlier, agents had seized another large shipment of 3 kilos (nearly 7 lbs.) worth over $800,000 from inside an ottoman. Members of the Aguaviva-Done organization had stashed the drug-filled ottoman at a furniture store before handing it off to a customer.

$3 Million in Drugs and Cash, 2 Guns, Seized Near Horace Mann School

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Cocaine, guns and cash seized from an apartment near in the Fieldston section of the Bronx.

A drug trafficker was indicted after DEA agents seized 31 kilos of cocaine (over 68 lbs .), $1 .6 million in cash and two semi-automatic pistols from an apartment in the Fieldston section of the Bronx . The cocaine was found inside a closet in the bedroom, wrapped in plastic and covered in grease. The firearms were hidden under the bed. The apartment complex abuts the Horace Mann School, a private school for youth from kindergarten through high school.

Rikers Island Correction Officer Sentenced to 8 Years for Bribe Receiving

Robert Whitfield, formerly a Correction Officer with the New York City Department of Correction, was sentenced to eight years in state prison for receiving a bribe of $100,000 in cocaine after he promised to secure an inmate’s early release. A trial jury found Whitfield guilty on charges of drug possession, conspiracy, bribe receiving and official misconduct. Testimony and other evidence presented at trial proved that Whitfield, a veteran Correction Officer assigned to Rikers Island, made an agreement with an inmate to receive three kilos of cocaine (over 6½ lbs.) in exchange for shortening the inmate’s sentence in the Corrections Department computer system . Authorities arrested Whitfield in the Inwood section of Manhattan shortly after his designated intermediary received the cocaine from an undercover agent at a nearby meeting place. The investigation was conducted by the New York City Department of Investigation, the DEA’s New York Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Strike Force and the New York Department of Taxation and Finance.

Pizza Delivery Man Served “Coke” with Slices: $45K in Cocaine Sold

A drug-dealing pizza deliveryman used his job at a Papa John’s restaurant in Sunset Park, Brooklyn as a cover to sell cocaine. Ramon Rodriguez made at least 19 sales to an undercover officer during an investigation by the NYPD’s Narcotics Borough Brooklyn South. Rodriguez frequently wore his Papa John’s uniform during the sales, which took place in front of his workplace and near his home . Prior to many of the sales, the undercover observed Rodriguez going inside the restaurant and returning with a pizza box, a menu or an insulated pizza bag, which he would use to conceal cocaine he was carrying . In the largest and final sale, the undercover arranged to purchase a kilo of cocaine for $27,500. Rodriguez carried a bag containing the cocaine out of the restaurant and placed it in the officer’s car. A court authorized search of Rodriguez’s home yielded approximately $4,500 cash. Rodriguez pleaded guilty to Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Second Degree and was sentenced to four years in prison.

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A pizza deliveryman who sold cocaine to an undercover officer set up meetings outside the Papa John’s restaurant where he worked and sometimes used food boxes to conceal drugs.

Police Clip Barbershop Cocaine Ring in the Bronx

A drug crew that made brazen cocaine sales near two schools and terrorized residents in the Tremont section of the Bronx was dismantled. The NYPD investigation, dubbed “Operation Scissorhands,” revealed that barber Ian Ortiz, of Diamond Cuts Barbershop on E. Tremont Ave., and a second defendant supplied cocaine to a street level crew, headed by Ryan Alcantra. Members of Alcantra’s drug ring sold cocaine from lawn chairs that they set up on a sidewalk outside a deli . Sales also took place near The William W. Niles School, MS 118, and the St. Joseph School, which serves children Pre-K through 8th grade, and in vehicles. The drug crew was the subject of numerous community complaints from residents and local business owners. Members of the ring are charged in 12 sales to an undercover officer from the NYPD’s Bronx Narcotics Division, including the largest sale of nearly 200 grams of cocaine for $9,000 by Ortiz and Alcantra on the day of the arrests.

Trial Division

$8 Million in Heroin Seized in the Bronx

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Heroin seized from a wholesale packaging operation in the Bronx.

A wholesale heroin packaging operation was dismantled in the Kingsbridge section of the Bronx in June. Members of the DEA’s New York Drug Enforcement Task Force seized 11 kilos of heroin (24 lbs.) worth approximately $8 million after members of the organization loaded a bag containing a large amount of drug proceeds into a vehicle. Investigators had been conducting surveillance outside the drug location near Van Cortlandt Park and the Major Deegan Expressway.

Rx Pills, Cocaine and 4 Guns: Brooklyn and Staten Island

Eleven members of a drug trafficking ring were indicted for selling oxycodone and cocaine in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn and in Staten Island. A nine-month wiretap investigation revealed three overlapping conspiracies. In one, a defendant received prescriptions for oxycodone from a corrupt Sheepshead Bay physician with whom she was acquainted. Four firearms were seized during court authorized searches of the homes of two suppliers, including two semi-automatic pistols and a revolver from a home in Staten Island and an AK-47 style assault rifle from an apartment in Brooklyn. During the investigation, an undercover DEA agent made two purchases of cocaine for approximately $7,000 from defendant Simon Berman. Berman was arrested after he sought to buy 10,000 pills of oxycodone from the undercover, with the intention of reselling the drugs. After his arrest, Berman attempted to bribe the undercover agent by offering to pay $20,000 cash.

Rx Trafficking Ring Ran Brooklyn Practices: $3.4 Million in Pills

Five members of a prescription drug trafficking ring that illegally collected and distributed over $3 .4 million in oxycodone and other prescription drugs were indicted. A nine-month wiretap investigation by the DEA revealed that ringleader Sergey Plotits established and controlled medical offices in Sheepshead Bay and other neighborhoods in Brooklyn for the sole purpose of illegally obtaining and selling highly addictive medication. Among those indicted was Zhanna Kanevsky, a physician hired by Plotits to write prescriptions at a medical office at 1763 East 12th Street. Other members of the crew recruited people they knew to pose as patients. Medical practitioners employed by Plotits were paid by the hour or by the day and generally failed to perform examinations on the phony patients. These phony patients collected the pills and handed them over to the drug ring. Between 2011 and 2013, the defendants illegally collected and distributed over 180,000 prescription pills, including 170,000 pills of oxycodone. Kanevsky pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy and criminal sale of a prescription and her medical licenses in New York and New Jersey were revoked.

Over $2 Million in Heroin and Crystal Meth, and Firearm, Seized from Trio

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A drug crew used a house in Corona, Queens as a stash location, where heroin and crystal meth were processed for resale. Investigators stopped  three men with narcotics after following  their cars to the Bronx.

New York State Police investigators seized nearly 20 pounds of heroin and methamphetamine worth more than $2 million and arrested three members of a drug trafficking group that maintained a stash location in a house in Corona, Queens. Investigators had been conducting surveillance at the stash location when they observed the trio exit the house and leave in two separate vehicles. The cars traveled to the Bronx, where both stopped and a defendant emerged from one vehicle, entered the other vehicle, and removed a bag. Investigators arrested the individual with the bag as he left the area on foot. The bag contained 3 kilos (nearly 7 lbs.) of heroin. A court authorized search of the Corona stash location yielded more than a kilo of heroin (approximately 3 lbs.), 4 kilos of crystal meth (nearly 9 lbs.) and a 9mm handgun. The drugs and the firearm were found in a dresser with a hidden compartment. Investigators believe the crystal meth was produced in Mexico. A drug ledger, $2,000 cash and equipment used for packaging narcotics were also found inside the stash location.

Harlem Doctor Sold Painkiller Prescriptions to Drug Ring
Dr. Robert S. Gibbs, Sr., a licensed internal medicine physician, was arrested for illegally selling prescriptions for powerful narcotic painkillers to a drug trafficking ring in exchange for cash. The investigation revealed that Gibbs, 75, who maintained an office in Harlem, had written and sold at least 42 illegal prescriptions for oxycodone.

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A Harlem doctor used his medical practice to illegally funnel prescriptions for narcotic painkillers to a drug trafficking ring.

In a scheme that ran more than three years, prescriptions were written in the name of Ronald Vaughan, head of the drug trafficking organization, as well as numerous other names that Vaughan supplied to the doctor. These individuals were not under the doctor’s care. In exchange, Vaughan made cash payments to Gibbs. The pills were then distributed on the black market. Gibbs pleaded guilty to Conspiracy, Criminal Sale of a Prescription for a Controlled Substance and Criminal Facilitation. He was sentenced to five years of probation and ordered to forfeit approximately $48,000 and to surrender his medical license . Vaughan pleaded guilty to Conspiracy and Attempted Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance, and was sentenced to a prison term of between six and nine years.

Cobble Hill Office Manager Sold Rxs for $165,000 in Pills
An office manager for a Cobble Hill neurologist was arrested for stealing and forging prescriptions for approximately $165,000 in hydromorphone, a potent opioid painkiller sold under the brand name Dilaudid.  A trusted employee, Syreeta Jones had worked at the doctor’s office for nearly two decades.  The criminal scheme spanned the last two years. Jones stole 48 prescription sheets from the medical practice without the neurologist’s knowledge and supplied them to drug trafficker Ira Sutton, with whom Jones communicated by text message.  Jones wrote the prescriptions in Sutton’s name and the names of two of his relatives, forging the doctor’s signature.  Each prescription was for 360 pills of Dilaudid. Sutton’s drug ring filled the prescriptions at pharmacies in the Upper East Side and Gramercy sections of Manhattan, and in Flushing, Queens.  Sutton pleaded guilty to Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree and faces a year in jail. Charges are pending against Jones.

Curtain Closes on Citywide Cocaine Ring

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Drug traffickers made a dozen sales of cocaine to an undercover officer inside a Bronx barbershop.

Five drug traffickers were arrested in connection with sales of nearly $45,000 in cocaine from two barbershops in the Bronx and Brooklyn. Undercover police officers from the NYPD’s Narcotics Borough Bronx Major Case Unit made 16 purchases of cocaine, totaling more than a kilo (approximately 3 lbs.). A dozen of these sales took place inside a busy barbershop called Noel Barber Shop & Unisex, in the Mott Haven section of the Bronx. The investigation revealed that the cocaine sold was obtained from a supplier, who owned a barbershop in the Cypress Hills section of Brooklyn.

Harlem Stash: Pit Bulls, Python, Pot, Guns and Cash
Police recovered over $35,000 in marijuana, four guns and $21,000 cash in a long-term investigation targeting a high-volume marijuana operation in Harlem. Defendants Mark Hansen and Manuel Bey made two gun sales and 10 bulk marijuana sales — totaling more than 6 pounds for $9,200 — to an undercover NYPD officer with Narcotics Borough Manhattan North. Sales were conducted in a first floor hallway of an apartment building at 1 East 124th St., where customers lined up seven days per week.

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Guns and large quantities of marijuana were seized in connection with a bustling bulk marijuana spot across the street from Marcus Garvey Park.

The bustling marijuana business was the subject of numerous community complaints. The basement of the building served as a stash location for Hansen and Bey. During a court authorized search, police encountered two pit bull dogs and an eight-foot python in the basement, where they also found a loaded revolver, several pounds of marijuana and $1,200 cash. An additional firearm was recovered from Bey’s residence in the Morrisiania section of the Bronx, along with a pound of marijuana and over $19,200 cash. A search of Hansen’s residence in the Van Nest section of the Bronx yielded another 20 pounds of marijuana.

Traffickers Smuggle Narcotics through U.S. Mail: Day Care Centers Searched
A sophisticated drug ring used the U.S. Postal Service to smuggle large quantities of cocaine to New York City from Puerto Rico. Ring leader Juan Valdez and four others were arrested following a wiretap investigation by the DEA’s New York Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Strike Force and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. The traffickers concealed cocaine in objects associated with children. In December 2013, investigators intercepted a package that contained a kilo of cocaine (over 2 lbs.) wrapped in SpongeBob SquarePants bedding.

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A package containing a kilo of cocaine wrapped in SpongeBob SquarePants bedding was shipped via express mail from Puerto Rico to New York City.

A Bronx day care center served as a cover for the ring .  Drugs and cash were seized from a residence that housed Fun World Childcare, including a kilo of cocaine (over 2 lbs .), 1,000 pills of oxycodone, 150 grams of crack-cocaine, and $20,000 cash . Some of the cocaine was hidden in a child’s insulated lunch bag.  Valdez was arrested at a family member’s home that contained a second day care center called Sweet Home. Approximately $7,500 in cash was seized.

Charges in the indictment involve $300,000 in narcotics, including 4 kilos of cocaine (nearly 9 lbs .) and 1,000 pills of oxycodone, $400,000 in drug proceeds and a firearm . Over the past five years, investigators seized packages containing 23 kilos of cocaine (over 50 lbs .) worth approximately $1 .4 million that have been linked to the organization.

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Authorities seized large quantities of drugs and cash from a residence that housed a day care center, including cocaine hidden inside a child’s insulated lunch bag.

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