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DEA bust thirteen drug traffickers in N.Y. for smuggling cocaine in exercise equipment boxes

February 11, 2017  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
DEA bust thirteen drug traffickers in N.Y. for smuggling cocaine in exercise equipment boxes Ariel Lopez-Acosta, 38, tried to run out the back door of his Nelson Ave.

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Authorities busted a group of 13 alleged drug traffickers who used the mail system to send heroin and cocaine from Puerto Rico to New York concealed inside boxes of children’s toys and exercise equipment.

The crew’s Bronx-based leader, Ariel Lopez-Acosta, 38, attempted to flee out of the back door of his Nelson Avenue residence with a sack of cash when police swept in to arrest him on Wednesday morning.

A search of the home revealed $100,000 in cash, along with $90,000 in jewelry, a Ranger Rover, and small amount of steroids, police said.

Lopez-Costa utilized two Puerto Rico-based suppliers, Luis Melendez-Sanchez and Eliud Torres to mail kilogram quantities of narcotics, the New York Daily News reported.

Five kilos of cocaine was found in a box for exercise equipment. (OFFICE OF THE SPECIAL NARCOTICS PROSECUTOR)

Both suppliers were arrested in San Juan and are expected to be extradited.

The heroin and cocaine were sold to dealers in New York City, Boston, and Maryland from August 2015 to November 2016.

In November, investigators using wiretap and other surveillance devices found that Lopez-Acosta was set to smuggle some of his profits to the Dominican Republic through relatives.

As a result, police prevented his wife, Rosanna Duran, 35, in Miami before she got on a plane to the Dominican Republic. They seized $59,680.

The co-conspirators smuggled cocaine and heroin to distributors in New York City, Boston, Mass. and Maryland from August 2015 to November 2016, prosecutors said. (OFFICE OF THE SPECIAL NARCOTICS PROSECUTOR)

The arrests occurred as a result of a long-term wiretap investigation by the U.S. DEA’s Strike Force Group Z-42 along with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

In sum, more than 45 pounds of cocaine and heroin, worth an estimated $4.5 million, were seized during raids. Authorities also confiscated $150,000 in cash, over $100,000 in jewelry, a stun gun, and a rifle.

“These drug traffickers brazenly relied on the U.S. Postal Service to deliver millions of cocaine from Puerto Rico to the New York metropolitan area, concealing it in toys and exercise equipment,” Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget Brennan stated.

“The defendants will discover that the widespread distribution of narcotics has severe consequences, as the organization heads face life sentences if convicted of top charges.”

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