Drug Trafficking Ring Ships Cocaine in Kid’s Lunchboxes in New York; Suspected Ringleaders Manage Recording Artists in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic
Five individuals were charged in connection to the sophisticated scheme of trafficking drugs, wherein the group smuggled millions of dollars worth of cocaine into New York City by utilizing lunchboxes of kids.
Cocaine on Lunchboxes in Big Apple
According to New York Post, the city's Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor said that the drug traffickers used the zip-up lunchboxes and mailed them to homes across New York and Massachusetts via the US Postal Service. The lunchboxes even had designs of cartoon characters from "My Little Pony" and "Despicable Me."
Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget G. Brennan stated that concealing narcotic drugs in children's lunchboxes was the modus operandi for this organization. The prosecutor added that the drug ring used the tactic to throw off law enforcement, but it did not work.
Based on the report of ABC7NY, the alleged ringleaders, 36-year-old Carlos Duarte and 41-year-old Alexis Garcia, were accused of shipping several packages of coke from Puerto Rico to New York City between May 2020 and July 2021.
Both foreign nationals are working as music managers. They both represented artists in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, which allowed them to travel frequently. Prosecutors stated that the alleged cover enabled them to have the drug-running operation.
Duarte faced the top narcotics charge of operating as a major trafficker, while other charges included conspiracy, criminal sale of a controlled substance, and drug possession.
The Drug Ring's Operation and Distribution Uncovered
Duarte, popularly known as "Showtime," was busted Wednesday morning at his home in Yonkers with 400 grams of a white powdery substance. Authorities said that some of them tested positive as cocaine in a field test.
Alongside Duarte were Bryan Centeno-Rosado, 23, Raul Sweeney, 27, and Wesley Coddington, 43, who were also present and arrested in Yonkers.
Investigators said that they have seized 30 kilograms of cocaine over the course of the investigation. Also, they believe that they could have scored if it were not trafficked by the narcotics ring.
Moreover, prosecutors said that in many instances, the parcels were mailed to individuals who did not exist or individuals that were not associated with that address.
The return addresses were often in New York, though the shipments came from Puerto Rico. At least two shipments had the return address of a luxury clothing boutique situated in Upper Manhattan.
Meanwhile, the indictment stated that a search of a vehicle Coddington was in on January 21 allegedly turned up two kilograms of cocaine nestled in the lunch boxes inside a hidden trap compartment in the back seat area of the vehicle.
The court documents said that on April 28, agents allegedly stopped Centeno-Rosado in a Lyft heading to Duarte's Yonkers home with 4 kilograms of cocaine that were split between two lunchboxes, one gray and one red.
Philip R. Bartlett, Inspector in Charge of the US Postal Inspection Service, said that over the years, they have seen many creative ways on how drug traffickers concealed illegal narcotics. Drug Traffickers have made several efforts eluding detection from law enforcement.
This article is owned by Latin Post.
Written by: Jess Smith
WATCH: Cocaine disguised as children's gifts seized in a drug trafficking ring bust in Brooklyn: police -PIX11 News
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