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Prosecutors indict 32 in multi-million-dollar heroin, fentanyl drug bust in the Bronx

February 4, 2017  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Prosecutors indict 32 in multi-million-dollar heroin, fentanyl drug bust in the Bronx

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Millions of dollars worth of fentanyl and heroin were seized during a raid, which resulted in the arrests of 32 members of an international drug trafficking organization, officials from the Bronx District Attorney’s office revealed on Friday.

The defendants have been indicted on 72-counts including conspiracy, working as a major trafficker and criminal possession of a controlled substance. Authorities said 22 were arrested, ten have been arraigned, and two were brought into custody, NBC4 New York reported.

Officials stated that if found guilty of operating as a major trafficker, the defendants could face life behind bars.

Bronx DA Darcel Clark said the 5,200-mile conspiracy involved the shipment of over 103 pounds of opioids from Honduras, worth $22 million, through Mexico, to California, where long-haul truckers would pick up the goods and bring them to New York in tractor-trailers carrying authorized cargo.

Investigators determined that Viannet Espinal, 39, and Joel Velazquez, 27, were providing the drugs involved in the commercial trafficking network.

Officials said Jose Alvarez, 37, reportedly organized transportation for the drugs to be brought into the U.S. Surveillance footage shows Alvarez selling drugs at his family’s eatery, Celia’s Restaurant, on Fordham Road.

Cops with the NYPD and DEA agents began arresting the defendants on Tuesday after they seized $32,420 from his apartment in New Jersey.

The joint investigation between the Bronx DA’s Office, the NYPD, and the DEA was launched in February 2016, when the NYPD’s Bronx Gang Squad began investigating crack cocaine sales in the Concourse area.

Steven Rivera, 40, and Daniel Rivera, 34, purportedly managed the transactions and supplied drugs to street-level dealers: Juan Santiago, 22, Kareem Hogan, 36, Antoin Ramirez, 35, and Harvey Gonzalez, 54.

DA Clark revealed that her office would sue the suspects for $10.5 million in property and currency, which are the alleged proceeds of the drug group during the eight-month probe.

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