Washington Heights Heroin Bust Shuts Down George Washington Bridge, Cross Bronx Expressway

By Carla Zanoni on August 27, 2010 6:37pm 

By Carla Zanoni

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

WASHINGTON HEIGHTS — A drug raid in Washington Heights late Wednesday evening resulted in the arrest of six people and the seizure of more than $1 million worth of heroin, guns and drug paraphernalia, officials said.

The incident closed down the Cross Bronx Expressway and George Washington Bridge for at least 30 minutes at approximately 10:30 p.m. Wednesday night, as agents scoured the roads for items tossed from the apartment balcony onto the expressway during the raid, agencies including the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the NYPD said.

Four kilos of Mexican and Colombian heroin, worth more than $1 million and packaged in thousands of glassine envelopes, were secured by agents during the search of 260 Audubon Avenue, Apartment 18C, according to the DEA.

The baggies were stamped with names like names “Starbucks,” “Target” and “High End.” Agents also seized packaging paraphernalia, including grinders and scales.

As law enforcement agents from the DEA, state and city police departments knocked down the apartment’s door, alleged drug dealers Miguel Diaz-Alvarez, Florencio Bonilla and Pedro Capellan attempted to escape through a bedroom window, officials said.

Capellan was found dangling from the 18th floor balcony, but was pulled to safety after he saw agents on the 17th floor below; Diaz-Alvarez and Bonilla were found hiding on the 18th floor balcony, law enforcement officials said.

The trio allegedly threw a loaded 9-millimeter handgun, a 38-caliber revolver and thousands of the envelopes of heroin onto the Cross Bronx Expressway, which runs underneath the building, as they tried to escape.

Three other suspects, who authorities would not identify, were hiding in the apartment.

A plastic package containing a kilogram of uncut heroin was also thrown from the apartment, landing on the second floor terrace below and bullets, shell casings and cartridges were found on the roadway, authorities said.

The group is suspected of using the Audubon Avenue apartment to package heroin for sale for at least the last month, during which the apartment was under investigation, according to the DEA.

Video surveillance of the alleged drug ring showed people entering and leaving the alleged "heroin mill" in ten-hour shifts where they are believed to have been working, “grinding heroin, mixing it with dilutant and packaging it,” read a statement from the DEA.

The six men arrested Wednesday night were charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, conspiracy to possess and sell a controlled substance, criminally using drug paraphernalia, and four of the men were charged with resisting arrest.

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