Sept. 18, 2017 By Tara Law
Two Kew Gardens residents were arrested on drug charges last month after police seized 64 kilograms of fentanyl from their apartment–the biggest fentanyl bust in New York City history, authorities said.
Blanca Flores-Solis, 51, and Rogelio Alvarado-Robles, 55, were arrested at their 85-15 120th Street apartment on August 1 after police followed them from a Walmart store in Manahawkin, NJ, where they were observed exchanging a shopping bag with an unknown man.
The pair, according to authorities, left Walmart in a silver Mercedes-Benz, made several stops along the way and then pulled into the garage at their Kew Gardens apartment building. Upon parking, police searched their car and found a backpack that contained one kilogram of cocaine.
Police then obtained a warrant to search their apartment and discovered four suitcases and a purse that contained 97 kilogram-sized packages of drugs, according to Bridget Brennan, New York City’s Special Narcotics prosecutor.
The NYPD conducted an analysis of the drugs and determined that 64 kilograms was comprised of pure fentanyl, 22 kilograms was a fentanyl/heroin mix, 5 kilograms was heroin and six kilograms was cocaine, according to Brennan.
They were both charged with two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the first degree and two counts of possession of a controlled substance in the third degree.
“The sheer volume of fentanyl pouring into the city is shocking,” said Brennan. “It’s not only killing a record number of people in New York City, but the city is used as a hub of regional distribution for a lethal substance that is taking thousands of lives throughout the Northeast.”
The drug bust comes at a time when overdoses in New York City have reached an all-time high. There were 1,374 overdose deaths in the city in 2016, 46% more than in 2015.
Fentanyl, a synthetic opiate, is behind the spike, health officials say. The drug, which is increasingly mixed with other narcotics, is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine and 50 times stronger than heroin.
Since two to three milligrams of fentanyl can kill, the amount of fentanyl seized could have caused 32 million fatal overdoses, authorities said.
In a separate drug bust announced today, police arrested two men after finding 25 kilograms of fentanyl and heroin from their vehicle in the Bronx on September 5. The police tracked down the men, Edwin Guzman and Manuel Ribera-Santana, after observing them inside a tractor trailer at a Home Depot in Woodbridge, NJ.
They were both charged with conspiracy in the second degree and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the first and third degrees.
“These two investigations that led to the seizure of these drugs will undoubtedly save lives and we will continue to work diligently with our law enforcement partners to combat this growing epidemic,” said Queens District Attorney Richard A Brown in a statement.
Brown said that many more people in Queens die from overdoses than homicides.