MANHATTAN SUPREME COURT — Members of a drug ring that smuggled more than 100 pounds of cocaine out of a Times Square hotel have been charged with trafficking, prosecutors said Monday.
Authorities said the six men rolled the cocaine, worth more than $5 million, out of Broadway's Crowne Plaza Hotel in three packed suitcases, which they loaded into cars.
Officers with the New York State Police, who had the group under surveillance, made the arrests after watching the men tote the drugs out of the Crowne Plaza Oct. 25, according to court papers.
Cops said they watched one of the men, Fernando Alva, 23, of the Bronx, walk out of the hotel with a suitcase that they later discovered was filled more than 30 pounds of cocaine. Alva placed the bag into a silver BMW before driving off with another one of the traffickers, Gerinerdo Hernandez, 34, prosecutors said.
Investigators stopped the BMW near 50th Street and 6th Avenue and arrested the men.
Officers also busted Luis Cuevas-Muniz, 25, of Tao Baja, Puerto Rico, who they said got into a livery cab outside the hotel with a bulging suitcase containing about 66 pounds of cocaine.
Cuevas-Muniz hopped out of the cab after driving with another man in the smuggling ring, Roberto Alvarez, 37, for about a block, then proceeded to walk back to the hotel to grab the final coke-laden bag, prosecutors claim.
Authorities said they also arrested Kaleb Altiery-Vazquez, 23, of Winston Salem, N.C., and Juan Alverio-Ruiz, 50, of Tao Baja, after finding the suspected traffickers in their hotel room — which was filled with plastic wrappings used to cover the pounds of cocaine, multiple plane tickets and cell phones.
The smugglers had traveled from Puerto Rico to White Plains, N.Y., with a stop in Orlando, Fla., authorities said.
The six men were indicted Monday on conspiracy and criminal possession of controlled substance charges.
The men are being held without bail and are due to appear back in court Dec. 17.