NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — A Colombian man ran a drug ring that hid millions of dollars of heroin inside sofas to ship it to Miami and ultimately sell it in New York City, according to authorities.
Accused ringleader Sergio Zuilanny Gordillo Joya has been extradited to New York from Buenos Aires.
Joya was living there as a fugitive from Colombian authorities, New York City Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget Brennan said Friday.
Authorities said Joya and a collaborator, Luis Fernando Galleano Gasca, orchestrated a January 2012 shipment of 16 kilos of heroin on a Colombia-to-Miami-bound freighter, with plans to take it to New York to sell.
Agents stopped the freighter in Miami and found 34 packages of heroin, concealed in four couches, authorities said.
These couches were packed into a shipping container with another 25 couches that did not contain narcotics, authorities said.
“No matter how you couch it, illegal drugs like the heroin intercepted in this case corrupts lives and attracts violence to our neighborhoods,” said Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. “Thanks to NYPD investigators and their partners in the office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor and federal counterparts, these dealers have been stopped.”
An indictment charges both Joya and Gasca with operating as a major trafficker under New York State’s kingpin statute, which carries a possible life sentence.
They are also charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance in the first-degree and conspiracy in the second-degree.
“The conduct charged in this indictment is exactly the sort of crime that the New York Kingpin statute was designed to address,” Brennan said. “High-level foreign traffickers shipped enough heroin to flood the streets of the New York metropolitan area, looking for millions of dollars to fund other criminal operations in return. Fortunately, agents managed to seize the heroin while still concealed in furniture in the Port of Miami.”
Joya was awaiting arraignment Friday.
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