According to Brown, three individuals — one woman from Ozone Park and two men from Texas — were charged for allegedly transporting the drugs from Texas into New York City hidden inside a spare tire and planning to sell them on the streets.
“Great police work led to the seizure of more than 12 kilograms of cocaine concealed within a spare tire of a vehicle the two men allegedly used to drive from Texas to New York,” Brown said. “The arrests of these three defendants is the result of a long-term investigation. The defendants are alleged to have conspired to bring the drugs to Queens and then to sell them here and in other parts of New York City. The Queens resident, whose home allegedly contained drug paraphernalia, is accused of playing a role in the plot.”
Brown identified the defendants as Ozone Park’s Augustina Masea Baez, 51, of 97th Avenue and Houston’s Felipe Estacio-Ortiz, 63, and Jose Luis Ortiz-Garcia, 44. They were all arraigned Tuesday, Feb. 16, on charges of first- and third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and second-degree conspiracy before Queens Criminal Court Judge Karen Gopee. Baez is additionally charged in a separate complaint with second- and third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and second-degree criminally using drug paraphernalia.
According to the charges, at 6:15 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 14, police stopped a white Nissan Armada at the intersection of 97th Avenue and 75th Street in Ozone Park. The vehicle was taken to the 115th Precinct where a court-ordered search warrant was executed the following day.
As a result of the search warrant, police recovered six packages containing the 12 kilograms of cocaine — with an estimated street value of $2.94 million — wrapped in electrical tape concealed inside the spare tire in the rear of the vehicle.
Additionally, the charges state that Masea-Baez was observed by police entering and exiting a house on 97th Avenue on Feb. 14, carrying a bag on her shoulder that contained a small quantity of cocaine, along with a scale and $3,398 in cash.
Police executed a search warrant on the home the following day and recovered two plastic twists containing cocaine, three plastic twists containing heroin and two digital scales from the inside of a closet.
All three defendants were ordered held without bail and to return to court on March 1. If convicted, the defendants face up to 20 years in prison.