Heroin trafficking ring dismantled in the University Heights section of the Bronx: 15 arrests

Bridget G. Brennan, New York City’s Special Narcotics Prosecutor, and William J. Bratton, New York City Police Commissioner, today announced the arrests of 15 individuals on drug charges following an investigation that involved 10 sales of heroin to undercover officers for over $26,000 in the University Heights section of the Bronx. Officers also conducted a series of court authorized searches yesterday, uncovering a heroin packaging operation and seizing quantities of powder cocaine, crack-cocaine and oxycodone.

A three-month investigation by the New York City Police Department’s (NYPD) Bronx Narcotics Tactical Response Team centered on a group of heroin traffickers headed by CARLOS RIVERA, aka “El Monstruo,” Spanish for “The Monster.” RIVERA and three members of the group are charged together in an indictment and were arrested yesterday morning. An additional 11 individuals were arrested during court authorized searches, and are charged in criminal complaints.

The NYPD initiated the undercover investigation early this year in response to community complaints about violence and narcotics trafficking in the vicinity of Grand Avenue and East 184th Street. Officers identified RIVERA and his alleged cohorts as main heroin dealers in the area.

During the course of the investigation, the defendants sold the undercover officers over 3,500 individual-dose glassine envelopes of heroin and 120 grams of loose powder heroin for a total of
$26,280. RIVERA personally sold the officers over 2,000 glassines of heroin, many of which were stamped with the brand name “Scarface.”

In setting up drug sales, RIVERA and his three codefendants would meet undercover officers outside one of several apartment buildings, including the building that houses RIVERA’s residence, located at 2333 Grand Ave., and 3063 Hull Ave., where the group maintained two apartments for storing and packaging narcotics. The officers were instructed to wait outside while the defendants entered the building to retrieve the heroin and then returned to complete the sale.

At the time of the arrests yesterday NYPD officers conducted court authorized searches of apartments associated with the group and seized heroin, cocaine, crack-cocaine, drug paraphernalia and $12,500 cash.

Officers searched two apartments at 3063 Hull Ave. and found a child under the age of one year inside Apt. 2E and a child under the age of two years inside Apt. 5D. Both apartments contained narcotics and drug paraphernalia. As a result four defendants are charged with Unlawfully Dealing with a Child.

A search of 3063 Hull Ave., Apt. 2E yielded quantities of powder cocaine and crack-cocaine, scales and $9,000. Inside Apt. 5D, officers discovered a drug packaging operation that contained all of the equipment necessary to process heroin. This apartment contained a rubber stamp used to brand the glassine envelopes of heroin with the name “Scarface,” along with additional stamps with different brand names. Police also recovered a quantity of heroin from the apartment and drug paraphernalia, including scales, grinders, pestles, strainers and empty glassine envelopes.

Officers also searched 30 Richman Plaza, Apt. 8C, the residence of defendant RICARDO AYALA, and recovered quantities of heroin, oxycodone pills and crack-cocaine, as well as $3,000.

Arraignments for the indicted defendants are expected to take place today in Manhattan Supreme Court before Justice Neil Ross, Part 23, at 100 Centre Street on the 13th floor. The defendants charged in criminal complaints are being arraigned in Manhattan Criminal Court.

Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget G. Brennan thanked the NYPD’s Bronx Narcotics Tactical Response Team and the office of Bronx District Attorney Robert T. Johnson.

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The charges and allegations are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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Kati Cornell
Special Narcotics Prosecutor’s Office
(212) 815-0525

Stephen Davis
New York City Police Department
(646) 610-6700