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June 29, 2021

$7 Million Worth of “Fire” Branded Heroin/Fentanyl


Narcotics destined for distribution in New York City and New England

Bridget G. Brennan, New York City’s Special Narcotics Prosecutor, Ray Donovan, Special Agent in
Charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) New York Division, New York City Police
Commissioner Dermot F. Shea, New York State Police Superintendent Keith M. Corlett and Bronx District
Attorney Darcel D. Clark announced the arrests of six individuals in connection with a large-scale alleged
narcotics packaging and distribution network, involving “Fire” branded heroin/fentanyl, operating in the Kingsbridge neighborhood of the Bronx.

A long-term investigation into narcotics trafficking in New York City and Massachusetts culminated in
the seizure of approximately 750,000 glassine envelopes of suspected heroin/fentanyl from an apartment at 2559 Sedgwick Avenue during a court-authorized search.


As a result of intelligence developed during a long-term investigation, members of the DEA’s New York
Drug Enforcement Task Force (NYDETF), Group T-12, and investigators with the Office of the Special
Narcotics Prosecutor (SNP) conducted several days of intensive physical and video surveillance at the
seven-story residential building. Over the course of the weekend, agents and investigators observed a
total of eight individuals coming to and from 2559 Sedgwick Avenue, Apt. 6A, the suspected narcotics
packaging mill. Agents and officers recognized multiple suspects from prior surveillance operations
entering Apt. 6A.


Beginning on Friday, January 24, 2020, agents and investigators observed these eight individuals enter
2559 Sedgwick Ave., Apt. 6A carrying furnishings and equipment that are typically used in packaging
heroin and fentanyl, including a glass table, plastic containers, desk lamps and folding chairs. On
Saturday, January, 25, 2020, individuals were observed carrying weighted black plastic garbage bags
into Apt. 6A. A female carried 15 bags of groceries into the building and into the apartment.
On Monday, January 27, 2020, members of NYDETF and the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor
obtained a court authorized search warrant for 2559 Sedgwick Avenue, Apt. 6A. When agents and

officers entered the apartment at approximately 7:25 p.m., they discovered six individuals in the midst of
packaging powder-filled glassine envelopes stamped with the brand “Fire” into bundles.
Hundreds of thousands of glassine envelopes covered two table tops and overflowed from plastic bins
and cardboard boxes on the floor and a bed. Equipment and paraphernalia typical of a heroin/fentanyl
mill were present in the room, including a glass table, desk lamps, a scale, grinders, empty glassine
envelopes, small spoons, an ink bottle, ink pads and stamps.


Defendants LIVO VALDEZ, JASLIN BALDERA, FREDERICK BALDERA, FRANDI LEDEMA DIEGO
TEJADA and PAFRAIMY ANTONIO are charged with Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in
the First and Third Degrees and Criminally Using Drug Paraphernalia in the Second Degree. The
defendants are scheduled for arraignment this evening in Manhattan Criminal Court.
The DEA estimates the black market value of the suspected heroin/fentanyl at approximately $7million.
Results of laboratory analysis of the seized narcotics are pending. The narcotics are believed to have
been destined for New York City and Massachusett

Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget G. Brennan thanked Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark and
commended SNP’s Special Investigations Bureau and Investigators Unit and the New York Drug
Enforcement Task Force, including members of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the New York
City Police Department and the New York State Police, for their work on the case. The DEA’s New
England Division assisted in the investigation.


“The sheer volume of heroin and fentanyl packages assembled in a small apartment just off the Major
Deegan Expressway in the Bronx is shocking. Even veteran narcotics investigators were surprised by
the output of this packaging operation, which was run out of a nondescript apartment in the borough
afflicted by the city’s highest rate of overdose death,” said Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget G.
Brennan. “The arrests of six individuals, and seizure of 750,000 drug filled envelopes destined for
distribution here and in New England, underscore New York City’s role as a hub for mass distribution of
deadly drugs. I thank the Drug Enforcement Task Force and the investigators and prosecutors from the
Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor for their dedication and commitment to preventing lethal drugs
from ever reaching our communities.”


“This enforcement operation shows that heroin is still the neighborhood stalker bringing danger and death
to our doorsteps,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Ray Donovan. “This seizure is incredibly significant
because it has saved hundreds of thousands of people from starting a cycle of opioid addiction by
removing three quarters of a million heroin filled glassines from a one-bedroom apartment in the
Bronx. Great police work and a common goal go a long way in keeping our city safe from the dangers of
illegal drugs.”


“I want to commend our NYPD officers and partners in the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor for
their dedicated work together to make these arrests and take these dangerous drugs off the streets,” said
Police Commissioner Dermot Shea.


New York State Police Superintendent Keith M. Corlett said, “The hard work of our members and
partners on the Drug Enforcement Task Force has led to the arrests of six subjects and the seizure of a
significant amount of heroin and fentanyl, which would have ended up on our streets. There is zero
tolerance for those who sell these deadly, illegal drugs, and we will continue to aggressively target and
disrupt these trafficking organizations, and put those responsible behind bars.”

Click here to see Official Press Release