Federal agents, the NYPD and the Bronx District Attorney have announced the largest cocaine seizure in New York City in recent years after a year-long investigation.
The bust, involving 19 defendants, amplifies the recent trend of cocaine becoming a stronger drug threat. Larger loads are being sent directly to New York and there is more production in Colombia, where producers are mixing cocaine with fentanyl to satisfy the opioid-addicted, officials said.
The 176 pounds of cocaine with a street value of nearly $3 million were on display at Wednesday's news conference.
In this seizure, the dealers joined forces to corner the market for cocaine on the street and in clubs around the city. The traffickers exploited the addicted and sought new customers in the club scene, pushing fentanyl-laced cocaine along with Ecstasy and Ketamine, police said.
There’s also an international component here. Two of the defendants conspired to import pills from overseas via international mail. Authorities in Belgium intercepted 1.25 pounds of pure controlled substances before they could reach their destinations in the Bronx and Manhattan.
Two of the defendants were charged with operating as a major trafficker, which carries a minimum of 15-25 years to maximum of life in prison if convicted, according to authorities.