By Sasha Gonzales
A massive cocaine bust in the Bronx netted 176 pounds of the drug—the largest coke seizure in recent New York City history, Bronx prosecutors said.
The investigation also led to 19 indictments of alleged drug traffickers, officials said, as well as the seizure of drugs containing MDMA and so-called “date rape” drugs, which are sometimes used to dose unsuspecting clubgoers, authorities said.
The accused traffickers allegedly sold coke in bulk to distributors, who in turn sold the drug in $10 and $20 packets—sometimes in crack form—on Valentine Avenue between the Grand Concourse and East 187th Street, prosecutors said.
The club drugs were being sold at nighttime hotspots around the city, authorities said.
Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark said the accused traffickers were variously charged in three indictments alleging 227 counts of drug sale and possession, as well as conspiracy.
Two are charged with operating as major traffickers, which carries a minimum of 15 to 25 years to a maximum of life in prison if convicted.
Fourteen of the accused were arrested May 1, and five remain at large, authorities said.
“We will stop traffickers of any illicit drugs that devastate lives and neighborhoods,” Clark said. “These defendants allegedly distributed large amounts of cocaine sold on the streets of the Bronx, and peddled dangerous ‘date rape’ drugs that wind up in bars and nightclubs.”
Bronx prosecutors worked the case along with the DEA, NYPD, and investigators from the Department of Homeland Security.
According to the indictment, two of the defendants conspired to import pills from overseas, via international mail. Authorities in Brussels, Belgium intercepted 1.25 pounds of drugs before they could reach their destinations in the Bronx and Manhattan, authorities said.
Homeland Security Investigations New York Special Agent in Charge Angel Melendez said that “increased cocaine production in Colombia, and larger cocaine loads like the 80 kilograms seized in this case” should help awaken New Yorkers to the fact “that the cocaine of older times is deadlier today: CDC studies show that 40% of cocaine deaths in 2016 involved fentanyl.”
None of the accused could immediately be reached for comment.