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$3M in Heroin and Fentanyl Seized in Central Park West Bust, Officials Say

By Ben Fractenberg | August 8, 2017 8:35am
 Federal and local investigators seized more than $3 million in heroin and fentanyl, some of which was packaged in bags stamped with the Uber name a logo, after busting a crew operating out of the Upper West Side, officials said.
Federal and local investigators seized more than $3 million in heroin and fentanyl, some of which was packaged in bags stamped with the Uber name a logo, after busting a crew operating out of the Upper West Side, officials said.
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Special Narcotics Prosecutor

MANHATTAN — Authorities seized $3 million worth of heroin and fentanyl after investigating a narcotics trafficking crew operating out of a Central Park West building, officials said Monday.

Federal and local law enforcement agents said they were surveilling 448 Central Park West at 105th Street the afternoon of Aug. 4 when they saw David Rodriguez, 32, exit the building carrying two boxes inside a white shopping bag and get into the back of a car operated by Uber driver Richard Rodriguez, 42.

Agents followed the pair — who are not related, according to officials — and stopped the black Honda Accord at 121st Street and Amsterdam Avenue.

The investigators saw that one of the boxes was open and a clear plastic bag containing a “tan powdery substance” was visible, officials said.

They then inspected the packages and found heroin and fentanyl, officials said. Both men were placed under arrest.

Investigators continued to surveil the building and a few hours later they saw Jesus Perez-Cabral, 19, and Johnny Beltrez, 32, leave the residence.

Agents approached Perez-Cabral, who later admitted to having drugs and a gun inside his sixth-floor apartment, according to officials.

They then obtained a search warrant and found three kilograms of fentanyl and heroin inside a hall closet, 1,100 glassine envelopes filled with powder and stamped with the name “UBER” and a loaded .25 caliber pistol wedged between two couch cushions, officials said.

Agents also found $30,000 in cash, multiple cellphones, ledgers and more empty glassine envelopes stamped with names including “Panda,” Black Friday” and “Wild Card.”

It was unclear if the envelopes marked "UBER" were being sold out of Richard Rodriguez's car, authorities said.

The men were all charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance and conspiracy.

Perez-Cabral was held on $100,000 bail during their Aug. 5 arraignment, David Rodriguez on $200,000 bail, Beltrez on $10,000 bail and Richard Rodriguez on $1,000 bail, according to officials.

heroind ring

Richard Rodriguez, David Rodriguez, Jesus Perez-Cabral and Johnny Beltrez (l-r)  were all charged with running a heroin and fentanyl ring out of an Upper West Side building. (Special Narcotic Prosecutor)

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance said in a statement that fentanyl helped lead to more overdose deaths than homicides in New York in 2016.

READ MORE: Overdose Deaths Up 46 Percent Citywide, With Opioids Largely To Blame

“The availability of the drug — which may be combined with other drugs, often unbeknownst to users — has exponentially increased the life-threatening risks of abusing narcotic substances, leading to an extreme public safety crisis that necessitates a swift and committed reaction from law enforcement and health officials,” Vance added. 

Information on their lawyers was not immediately available.