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Officials: Leader Of Puerto Rico-New York City Drug Ring Arrested

Cocaine seized from Fun World Childcare in the Bronx. (Credit Handout)

Cocaine seized from Fun World Childcare in the Bronx. (Credit Handout)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A long-term investigation into a major narcotics operation being run out of a Bronx day care center has resulted in another round of arrests.

As WCBS 880’s Irene Cornell reported Thursday, investigators announced they’ve nabbed the drug network’s ringleader, the illusive Juan Valdez, along with two others.

Valdez is accused of smuggling large quantities of cocaine and oxycodone from Puerto Rico to New York using the U.S. Postal Service.

In September, 2013, investigators arrested and charged Johanna Vasquez and her husband Gregorio Hanley, with using Fun World Childcare, which operated out of their Parkchester home, as a cover for the drug trafficking operation.

Authorities said a search of the home where the day care was located and another residence across the street turned up more than a kilogram of cocaine, more than 1,000 oxycodone pills, a loaded gun and $180,000.

Inspectors have seized $1.4 million worth of cocaine linked to Valdez’s drug network over the past five years.

Valdez was arrested at another Bronx day care center called Sweet Home, Cornell reported.

He has been charged with conspiracy, the possession and sale of controlled substances, weapons possession, money laundering and other crimes.

Juan Bernal and Ada Padilla were also arrested in Thursday’s bust.

According to the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor, a long-term wiretap investigation revealed that Valdez ran the day-to-day activities of the narcotics operation, with assistance from Bernal and Hanley.

Padilla is accused of being hired by Valdez to receive narcotics at her Bronx home.

The latest indictment alleges the drug ring concealed narcotics inside SpongeBob SquarePants bedding.

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