NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — More than $2 million in heroin and crystal methamphetamine have been seized from a trio of Queens drug traffickers, prosecutors announced Monday.
Miguel Mercado-Guelen, Henry Nunez and Diego Estevez were arrested last month in the Bronx after an alleged drug and cash exchange, prosecutors said.
“The indictments of these three individuals have broken up a drug trafficking operation that poured literally pounds of deadly, illicit drugs into the streets of Queens and beyond,” stated New York State Police Superintendent Joseph D’Amico.
Prosecutors said Estevez was caught carrying a bag containing more than six pounds of heroin.
Investigators later found a dresser with a hidden compartment filled with three pounds of heroin, nine pounds of methamphetamine, as well as a 9 mm handgun and a loaded magazine clip at Mercado-Guelen’s apartment in Corona, Queens, prosecutors said.
New York City’s Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget Brennan said the methamphetamine, which had a street value of about $960,000, is believed to have been produced by Mexican cartels.
“One of the things that we’re very concerned about is this recovery of crystal methamphetamine in the home in Queens,” Brennan told 1010 WINS. “It’s consistent with a pattern that we’ve seen in our investigations across the city.”
“We have concerns that those cartels may be trying to develop a customer base for their methamphetamine here in New York,” Brennan said, adding that officials will continue to investigate the chain of distribution.
She said data from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene shows an escalation in related hospitalizations over the past few years.
“The number of visits to the emergency room in New York City more than doubled between 2004 and 2011,” Brennan said. “That’s probably our best indicator that there’s been an increase in use.”
Esetevez was arraigned on May 1 and and is being held on $500,000 bail. Nunez was arraigned on May 6 and is being held on $200,000 bail.
Mercado-Guelen was expected to be arraigned in Manhattan on conspiracy, weapons and drug charges Monday.
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