NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Five men have been charged with smuggling large shipments of heroin and cocaine from Mexico so it could be sold in New York City and elsewhere in the Northeast.

Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget Brennan and the Drug Enforcement Administration announced the charges Thursday. They said that 30 pounds of heroin and $835,000 in cash were recovered during a wire-tap investigation that began last year.

Court papers say that after the ring smuggled the drugs into the United States, it concealed them in luggage on bus trips to New York.

Cars with hidden compartments also were used to carry drugs and cash.

Investigators said the scheme began to fall apart when the ring fell behind on payments to a Mexican cartel that was supplying the drugs.

Prosecutors said that at one point the cartel held the brother of alleged New York distributor Luisito Colon Pagan as collateral to guarantee payment and even posted a cartel member as an unwanted guest in Pagan’s Bronx apartment to keep an eye on the cash collected, WCBS 880’s Irene Cornell reported.

As his debts piled up, Pagan resorted to the same ruthless tactics, plotting to kidnap the brother of a co-conspirator he blamed for his money woes, prosecutors said.

The charges against Pagan and the other suspects include conspiracy, criminal possession of a controlled substance and criminally using drug paraphernalia.

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