Five people were arrested, $5 million worth of heroin was seized, $115,000 in cash was confiscated, and two guns were recovered in a seven-month long investigation that resulted in the dismantling of a major heroin trafficking network led by a Belmont Avenue man that operated drug packaging mills in the Bronx and Manhattan, according to U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
Authorities arrested Orlando Rosario-Concepcion, 38, of Paterson, and four New York City men Rodolofo Abreu-Crisotomo, 31; Jonathan Almonte, 26; Jean Carlos Rosario-Ortiz, 27; and Deckson Holguin-Rosario, 28, charging them with first-degree criminal drug possession, third-degree criminal possession of drugs, and second-degree criminally using drug paraphernalia, authorities said.
Authorities said Rosario-Concepcion headed the drug trafficking organization that supplied to dealers in New York City and upstate New York State from two packaging facilities in the Bronx and Washington Heights in Manhattan.
A raid at the Bronx heroin packaging facility occurred at around 11:15 a.m. on Thursday netting the five alleged dealers, authorities said. The facility at 238 West 238th Street, Apt. 25, in the Bronx, was found fully operational and Rosario-Concepcion overseeing production.
Rosario-Concepcion, Rosario-Ortiz, and Almonte were in the mill’s living room.
Agents interrupted workers at the facility as they were packaging heroin into individual dose glassine envelopes. Authorities recovered thousands of filled glassines, quantities of loose powder heroin, and heroin mill equipment like empty glassines, scales, and grinders.
The network had a heroin holding of $5 million at the time of the raids, authorities said.
Investigators and agents outside of the five-story apartment saw heroin being thrown out of a window during the raid. Abreu-Cristomo and Holguin-Rosario attempted to escape by climbing out of another window to a fire escape.
Holguin-Rosario broke into a neighboring apartment from the fire escape in an unsuccessful flight attempt. Both were arrested.
Subsequently, a bevy of federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies executed warrants at seven search sites in New York City, Long Island, and Paterson, authorities said. Investigators located multiple stash houses controlled by the network including Abreu-Cristomo’s apartment at 20 Laurel Hill Terrace, Apt. 3K in Manhattan that had 24 pounds of heroin (11 kilogram). Four kilograms of uncut bricks and seven kilograms of packaged glassines were recovered.
“As a result of these seizures and arrests, lives have been saved,” New York State Police Superintendent Joseph A. D’Amico said.
Abreu-Crisotomo allowed the network to use his apartment stash house for heroin shipments before and after packaging for retail distribution.
Rosario-Concepcion’s home at 140 Belmont Avenue, second-floor, yielded $100,000 in cash and a loaded handgun, authorities said.
Another search at 1423 Chicago Avenue, Bayshore, NY, resulted in the recovery of $15,000 cash, 5,000 glassines, and a rifle.
The almost year-long investigation began that culminated in the arrests on Thursday began in October 2014, following a heroin overdose in Sullivan County, NY. Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office and members of the DEA’s Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Strike Force (NY OCDESF), Group Z-41 chased leads that identified the source of the heroin.
NY OCDESF, Group Z-41 was created to combat the growing heroin epidemic in New York State.
Sullivan County Sheriff Michael Schiff pinpointed the source as Bronx and Washington Heights. “Our preliminary investigation revealed that drug dealers from the Bronx were driving all the way up to the rural areas of Sullivan County to peddle their poison to our children,” Schiff said. “Once we pinpointed the source, we called for assistance.”
That call for assistance brought together the DEA’s Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Strike Force (NY OCDESF), Group Z-41, New York State Police, the New York City Police, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) New York, Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office, authorities said.
Also assisting in the investigation were the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office, the Narcotics Unit of the Nassau County Police Department, and the DEA’s Long Island District Office.
“As heroin use continues to plague our communities, our collaborative efforts as members of the Strike Force is a great way to fight back to stem the tide of this dangerous and deadly epidemic” Raymond R. Parmer Jr., Special Agent in Charge of HSI New York, said. “By initiating an investigation from the street user and climbing the ladder to the distributor has proven to be a successful method to taking down heroin mills like the ones operated by this drug trafficking organization.”
Authorities tracked down the source of the supply from distributors of heroin glassine distributors in upstate New York that led Rosario-Concepcion’s New York City-based network.
The five men were arraigned in Manhattan Criminal Court on Friday.