Federal and local authorities arrested a drug dealer in Queens and seized 12 pounds of cocaine, much of it disguised as fruit-flavored candy, prosecutors said.
The cocaine, which was uncovered in a backpack and a basement apartment in Jackson Heights, has a street value of $2 million, the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor of New York City said in a press release Thursday.
Authorities said they arrested Juan Pablo Martinez after finding cocaine disguised as fruit-flavored Mini Bums and other candies in a backpack he was carrying.
A drug enforcement task force group was conducting surveillance near 77th Street and Northern Boulevard Wednesday evening as part of an ongoing drug investigation when they spotted Martinez riding a bicycle and carrying a backpack, prosecutors said.
They followed Martinez to a gas station on Northern Boulevard, where he met up with the driver of a grey Acura, according to prosecutors, who said agents and officers approached Martinez and found two colorful, heat-sealed bags of individually wrapped candy.
Except the apparent candies were actually individually wrapped pieces of cocaine weighting a little under 4 ½ pounds, prosecutors allege.
Police searched Martinez’s basement apartment on 82nd Street and found more cocaine, a kilo press, drug ledgers and $12,000 in cash, according to prosecutors.
The DEA estimates the black market value of the 12 pounds of cocaine recovered to be $2 million.
Martinez was expected to be arraigned in Manhattan Criminal Court on Thursday.