A North Carolina man is accused of selling nearly 50 pounds of crystal meth in Manhattan and Queens, prosecutors announced Friday.
Juvenal Andrade-Mora, 37, was arraigned Thursday night Manhattan criminal court on one count of criminal sale of a controlled substance in the second degree. The arraignment comes one day after Andrade-Mora was arrested on 155th Street in Manhattan following an undercover investigation, authorities announced.
Following his court appearance, Andrade-Mora was released without bail as per law. Attorney information for Andrade-Mora was not immediately known.
According to New York City’s Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget Brennan, days before his arrest, Andrade-Mora traveled to the city from North Carolina to allegedly meet with an undercover officer on Monday in Queens. Andrade-Mora allegedly provided the undercover one kilogram of crystal meth wrapped inside a green sweatshirt.
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Andrade-Mora and the undercover officer also arranged for a second meeting and the sale of an additional 19 kilos for a wholesale price of $11,000 per kilo, or a combined $220,000, according to Brenna. Allegedly, authorities used electronic devices as surveillance to track Andrade-Mora's return to North Carolina, then travel to Atlanta, before returning Wednesday to New York.
It was on that day, authorities allege, that Andrade-Mora met with the undercover officer on West 155th Street n Manhattan and directed the undercover officer to a black suitcase in front of a building, insinuating the drugs were inside that suitcase.
Prosecutors say the undercover officer retrieved the bag before Andrade-Mora was arrested.
Inside the suitcase, authorities found two plastic bags, each with a number of plastic bags inside containing a white, crystal-like substance. The packages weighed about 21 kilograms and on-field testing revealed the substance to be crystal methamphetamine. However, lab test results are pending.
According to prosecutors, it is believed the crystal meth seized is from Mexico and has a street value of more than $2 million.
“Methamphetamine, a synthetic drug, is a potentially lethal stimulant, which is driving up overdose deaths across the country, according to federal health officials. The increased volume of methamphetamine coming into our city is astonishing, most of it produced in Mexico. Once here, it is mixed with other dangerous drugs and pressed into counterfeit pills,” Brennan said.
DEA Special Agent in Charge Frank Tarentino III shared similar sentiments, adding that there has been an increase in drug trafficking related to crystal meth.
"Synthetic drugs are the most powerful and dangerous drugs found on the streets today," Tarentino said. "Fentanyl and methamphetamine are man-made synthetic drugs that have been unleashed on the streets causing overdoses and deaths nationwide. This year DEA New York has seized over 100% more methamphetamine than in 2020 which signifies a concerning shift in the New York drug trade toward methamphetamine."
NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell said the NYPD will continue to work to rid communities of illicit drugs.
"Illegal drugs like the ones seized in this investigation poison our communities and destroy lives," Sewell said. "Our department works day and night to rid our streets of these toxins, and we vow to bring anyone who peddles them to justice."