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Bronx Heroin Suspect’s Family Used as Collateral by the Sinaloa Cartel

May 21, 2015  |  Posted by: JammedUp Staff
Bronx Heroin Suspect’s Family Used as Collateral by the Sinaloa Cartel Jose (Hippie) Mercedes and Yenci Cruz arrested in fourth biggest heroin bust in U.S. history

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According to the New York Daily News, a notorious Mexican heroin cartel forced a Bronx drug kingpin to send two relatives south of the border to be used as collateral in exchange for millions of dollars worth of smack.

Police say Jose (Hippie) Mercedes, arrested on Sunday in one of the biggest heroin seizures in the state’s history with a value of more than $50 million, gave the Sinaloa Cartel two “very close family members” to be used as collateral.

A U.S. law enforcement source said this isn’t the first time violent cartels forced local U.S. based drug dealers to hand over relatives as collateral. “We’ve seen this before in cases involving narcotics supply organizations affiliated with the Sinaloa cartel,” the source said.

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The multimillion-dollar drug ring involved the importation of heroin from the Sinaloa State into the U.S. and shipped by land to Mercedes for distribution. Mercedes operated the drug out the Bronx apartment, which spanned over five states law enforcement officials said.

Although Mercedes’ relatives are not believed to be held hostage, cartel operatives kept a close eye on the family members and threatened reprisals if anything went wrong.

The huge drug pinch by the Drug Enforcement Administration is the largest in New York State history, which also led to the confiscation of $2 million in hard cash. The sting backs up the NYPD’s assessment that heroin is once again rampant throughout the five boroughs.

“Right now, we estimate that 20% of the drug seizures in the country for heroin are here in New York,” Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said.

Bratton said in 2014 The NYPD seized an estimated 750 pounds of heroin in New York City, which is five times the amount taken off the streets from a year earlier.

According to sources, the DEA and NYPD Joint Narcotics Task Force arrested Mercedes, 46, and Yenci Cruz Francisco, 19 after conducting surveillance and wiretaps, which led to believe the suspects were on the verge of a major heroin buy. However, its more than likely that the information came from a confidential informant.

According to the court documents, the drug transaction was conducted out of a New Jersey warehouse parking lot last Saturday. The task force apprehended both suspects the following day near the W. 251st St. apartment in the Fieldston section of the Bronx, New York officials said.

In Addition to the NYPD and DEA, the year-long investigation included the city special narcotics prosecutor, New York State police, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Department of Homeland Security Investigations.

Police said the drugs were recovered from hidden compartments underneath the floor of 2006 Chevrolet Suburban belonging to Francisco with $24,000 cash.

DEA agents discovered the $2 million in cash hidden beneath floorboards of the fifth-floor apartment, which is nearby the bustling area of Van Cortlandt Park and the campuses of the prestigious Horace Mann School and Manhattan College.

“We’re swimming upstream against the tide right now,” Bratton said. “Fifty-odd percent of the overdose deaths in the city right now are due to heroin.”

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