Law enforcement officials busted a major heroin mill in Ridgewood earlier this week, the office of New York City’s Special Narcotics Prosecutor announced on Wednesday.
The Ridgewood home was found to have around 39 kilograms of suspected heroin, 1,000 pills of fentanyl and $200,000 in cash inside when a law enforcement team comprised of DEA special agents, NYPD detectives and New York State Police investigators made their way inside on Monday, Feb. 8. The drugs inside the apartment are believed to be worth around $12 million, according to prosecutors.
Four Queens residents were arrested in connection with the stash house, located at 63-16 Forest Ave., including Luis Martinez, who law enforcement officials believe to be the leader of the operation.
Martinez, 48, was charged with operating as a major trafficker, criminal possession of a controlled substance and criminally using drug paraphernalia after he was nabbed by members of the New York Drug Enforcement Task Force as he walked out of the apartment building on Monday.
Already conducting surveillance on the alleged heroin mill, officers spotted Martinez leaving the building with a backpack around 4 p.m., according to the authorities.
Officers stopped Martinez and searched his bag, finding around $200,000 in cash, keys to the apartment and four cellphones inside, law enforcement officials said. Officers then made their way to the apartment and knocked on the door.
Sofia Medina, 50, answered the door and officers made their way inside, spotting a host of drug paraphernalia as they made their way through the apartment, according to prosecutors.
Officers also found two women, Maria Altagracia Berroa, 54, and Jacqueline Sosa De Espinal, 43, hiding inside the bathroom with the lights off.
One of the apartments bedrooms appeared to be designated for packaging heroin — inside were over two dozen brick-shaped packages containing a kilogram of suspected heroin each and an additional six kilograms of loose powder inside smaller bags, according to law enforcement officials.
In addition to the alleged heroin, officers found 26 cellphones, digital scales, sifters, grinders and around 1,000 blue pills with markings similar to pharmaceutically produced oxycodone, but suspected by law enforcement to be counterfeits containing fentanyl, prosecutors said.
Berroa, De Espinal and Medina were charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance and criminally using drug paraphernalia. All four of the arrested suspects were arraigned in Manhattan Criminal Court Wednesday morning.