What to Know
- Seven people are facing charges of operating a fentanyl packaging mill in New York City, prosecutors and law enforcement officials announced Friday
- One of the accused allegedly threw toxic fentanyl at a police officer
- In total, four officers experienced fentanyl-related symptoms, prosecutors said
Seven people are facing charges of operating a fentanyl packaging mill in New York City -- and one of the accused is also facing assault charges for allegedly throwing toxic fentanyl at a police officer, prosecutors and law enforcement officials announced Friday.
Members of the New York Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Strike Force, Group Z-21, obtained a search warrant for a suspected narcotics packaging location on Willis Avenue in the Mott Haven section of the Bronx on Nov.7, the office of Bridget Brennan, Special Narcotics Prosecutor for the City of New York. The location is across the street from a public elementary school.
When agents and officers entered the apartment, they allegedly encountered six individuals in the living room along with a large quantity of suspected heroin and fentanyl packaged into nearly 20,000 individual dose glassine envelopes, as well as additional quantities of narcotics in loose powder form.
Before Strike Force members could secure the apartment, Christian Rojas, 44, allegedly threw loose fentanyl at the head of one of the officers -- the powder hit him and caused dust to disperse into air.
According to prosecutors, the officer exhibited fentanyl-related symptoms, including nausea and shortness of breath and was treated by emergency responders. A second officer who was immediately behind this officer also experienced nausea and shortness of breath, and momentarily lost consciousness while being transported to a hospital via ambulance, prosecutors say.
In total, four officers experienced fentanyl-related symptoms, prosecutors said.
Rojas is charged with two counts of attempted aggravated assault upon a police officer, two counts of assault in the second degree and one count of reckless endangerment in the second degree.
Jose Gonzalez, 49, Freddy Rojas, 47, Nassar Lacewell, 36, Mario Guerrero, 40, and Francisco Payano, 35, were all allegedly in the living room along with Christian Rojas at the time of the search warrant. Margaret Payano, 46, was in a bedroom.
All seven defendants allegedly present in the apartment are charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance in the first degree, two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree and two counts of criminally using drug paraphernalia in the second degree.
Attorney information for the accused was not immediately known.