Chief Investigative Reporter Jonathan Dienst on crime, corruption and terrorism.

53 Pounds of Heroin Seized in Biggest NYC Bust This Year: Officials

The DEA and the NYPD conducted the joint investigation

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    Dozens of kilos of heroin were tracked and seized in the past week as federal drug enforcement agents helped the NYPD break up a New York-based drug ring that was a key supplier to Connecticut and other New England states, according to law enforcement officials.

    Investigators said more than 24 kilos of heroin -- about 53 pounds -- worth $11 million were seized in raids on two Bronx apartments and through tracking cars carrying drug shipments. Cocaine and three guns were also found during the raids. Authorities say the heroin bust is the biggest so far this year.

    Officials said the Bronx-based heroin operation was based in a seventh-floor apartment on Orloff Avenue and another apartment on Patterson Avenue. Agents said they also discovered a storage facility used by the alleged drug dealers on Zerega Avenue. 

    In addition to guns and drugs, officials said tens of thousands of dollars in cash was also recovered.

    Edualin Tapia and Guillermo Esteban Margarin, two suspected ringleaders, were arrested as they allegedly drove boxes of heroin to Hartford. Investigators allege the two men were carrying the heroin in plain view in uncovered boxes. In Hartford, agents searched the apartment where the suspects were headed and allegedly found other suspects trying to pour heroin down a sink in an effort to avoid arrest.

    Tapia and Margarin remain in custody in Connecticut awaiting extradition back to New York to face charges. It wasn't immediately clear if they had attorneys. 

    In a statement, New York Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget Brennan said the arrests "cut a pipeline moving huge amounts of heroin from New York City to the Northeast."

    “These seizures and arrests demonstrate that NYC is ground zero of heroin distribution networks supplying the Northeast, as well as being the prime market Mexican drug traffickers are using to earn profit from the sale of poison,” added DEA Acting Special Agent in Charge James Hunt.

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