Big Rig Surveillance Operation Results in $10 MILLION Cocaine Bust
New York, NY – This week during a big rig surveillance operation, authorities in New York seized 154 pounds of cocaine with an estimated street value of $10 million.
On Friday, New York City’s Special Narcotics Prosecutor, Bridget G. Brennan, gave the details of a recent surveillance operation conducted by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency’s (DEA) New York Drug Enforcement Task Force (DETF) Group T-41.
Group T-41 was conducting the operation as part of an ongoing narcotics investigation in Hunts Point on Wednesday, August 28 and Thursday, August 29.
Brennan said T-41 agents observed two trucks enter a commercial warehouse, located at 559 Longfellow Avenue, through a metal security gate.
One truck was transporting a shipping container and the other was a tractor-trailer with a white and blue refrigerated container.
On Thursday, members of Group T-41 subsequently observed a blue Hyundai Santa Fe enter the warehouse at approximately 11:45 a.m.
Agents and officers were familiar with the blue Hyundai Santa Fe from previous surveillance operations, during which the car was seen entering and exiting the same warehouse bearing different license plates, a common counter-surveillance tactic, Brennan said.
Group T-41 agents then followed the blue Hyundai Santa Fe as it left the warehouse at 12:54 p.m. and conducted a vehicle stop in the vicinity of 1552 Washington Avenue.
The vehicle was driven by 32-year-old Miguel Marte-Veras, of Bronx, NY.
Agents and officers found two large black suitcases inside the car and recovered 70 brick shaped packages, Brennan said.
Each package was heat sealed in plastic consistent with the appearance of a kilogram of narcotics, according to investigators.
LATEST BIG RIG BUSTS
Members of DETF froze the warehouse location and obtained a search warrant.
At approximately 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, members of Group T-41 entered the warehouse and found the white and blue refrigerated container previously observed on the tractor-trailer.
Further, a search revealed rotted bags of papayas, pallets of cartons of oregano and coconuts inside the container.
Port Authority K-9 “Balu” alerted to the presence of narcotics when searching the container, Brennan revealed.
Investigators then located a concealed compartment in the top trailer.
Marte-Veras was subsequently charged with Operating as a Major Trafficker and Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the First and Third Degrees.
“This investigation uncovered a commercial warehouse close to the busy Hunts Point markets that served as a front for international narcotics importation,” Brennan said. “The sheer amount of cocaine seized in one week reflects the magnitude of this drug operation.”
Brennan pointed out that “thousands of trucks pass through the area each day” and thanked the New York DETF for successfully disrupting a “major narcotics supply route.”