Crime and Courts

Chief investigative reporter Jonathan Dienst on crime, corruption and terrorism.
New York City

$5 Million in El Chapo, Dunkin' Donuts Branded Drugs Seized in Sweeping Bronx Narcotics Bust

The alleged heroin mill used all sorts of stamps -- everything from El Chapo to T-Mobile, iPhone, Hello Kitty and other household names

What to Know

  • Authorities announced a $5 million drug takedown in the Bronx, the culmination of an ongoing opioid investigation
  • Three people allegedly involved were arrested on charges including criminal possession of a controlled substance
  • Officials found various stamps to brand the drugs; it was everything from El Chapo to Dunkin' Donuts, Hello Kitty and Coca-Cola

Authorities intercepted $5 million worth of heroin -- some of it branded with an "El Chapo" stamp -- they say was destined for distribution on the streets of New York City and elsewhere across the Northeast, officials said Friday. 

Members of the DEA's New York Drug Enforcement Task Force and investigators with the special narcotics prosecutor's office were conducting surveillance near Wallace Avenue and Boston Road in the Bronx earlier this week when they noticed a parked black Toyota with Massachusetts plates in front of a building they had been watching. A man walked out of the building and put a large shopping bag inside the vehicle, authorities said. 

Law enforcement officers stopped the car a short time later. They noticed the shopping bag on the floor of the back seat and could see a number of packages that looked like heroin baggies, authorities say. Ultimately, 70,000 individually packed envelopes containing white powder were found. The driver was arrested.

That was Tuesday. The next day, agents reviewing surveillance video of the Wallace Avenue building from which the Toyota driver emerged a day earlier saw another man emerge and give a third suspect a large suitcase. That suitcase was put in the trunk of a different Toyota. A short time later, that vehicle was stopped -- and another 17,000 heroin baggies were recovered from the suitcase in the trunk. The driver of that vehicle was also apprehended, along with the man who gave him the suitcase.

Ten minutes after the stop, agents and officers executed a search warrant of the Wallace Avenue building and found heroin packaging and process materials, along with 47 stamps to brand the drugs with everything from El Chapo, the notorious Mexican drug lord sentenced this week in Brooklyn to life in a federal American prison, to Dunkin' Donuts, Coca-Cola, Peter Rabbit and Superman. 

They also say they found a lot more heroin bags -- and three kilograms of the drug in brick form wrapped in plastic. Authorities say the total seizure would have been worth about $5 million on the street. Lab tests are pending. 

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