NEW YORK (FOX5NY) - Federal authorities say they have arrested four men and seized nearly $3 million worth of fentanyl and heroin from an apartment on Central Park West and a car parked nearby.
It happened on Friday afternoon at about 3:35 p.m. at 448 Central Park West, an apartment building at the corner of 105th Street.
Police were running surveillance on the building and say they saw a man leave the building with a large shopping back and get into an Uber car. They followed the car to 121st St. and Amsterdam Ave.
They stopped the car and say they saw David Rodriguez in the back seat with two boxes. One box was open and a clear plastic bag containing a tan powdery substance was visible inside, according to authorities.
Agents and investigators say the packages contained a suspected combination of fentanyl and heroin. Rodriguez and the Uber driver, Richard Rodriguez, were arrested.
Back at the building, federal agents and NYPD officers say Jesus Perez-Cabral and Johnny Beltrez left the building and stopped the pair. They say that Perez-Cabral admitted to having a gun and drugs in the apartment.
During a court authorized search of the residence, officers and investigators recovered two large ziplock bags containing approximately three kilograms of a suspected fentanyl and heroin combination from inside a hall closet, as well as 1,100 individual dose glassine envelopes that had been filled with powder and stamped with the brand name “UBER.”
Agents and officers found a loaded .25 caliber Beretta pistol wedged between two couch cushions. Also recovered from the apartment were $30,000 in cash, several identification cards for other individuals, multiple phones and ledgers.
In addition, supplies and paraphernalia consistent with a heroin/fentanyl packaging mill were seized including: stamps, rubber bands, folding tables, boxes of ziplock bags, a heat sealing device, gloves, masks, and empty glassines branded “Panda,” “Black Friday” and “Wild Card.”
A dangerously strong synthetic opioid, fentanyl is approximately 50 times stronger than heroin and is increasingly found mixed into the illicit narcotics supply in New York City. According to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, fentanyl is driving a spike in fatal overdoses, which reached an all-time high of 1,374 deaths in New York City in 2016 – a 46% increase over 2015.
The defendants, all New York City residents, were arraigned in Manhattan Criminal Court.