Police in New York City have reported that almost nine pounds of the deadly opioid fentanyl was discovered following a vehicle stop in the in Bronx on Feb. 1. The seized drugs are said to have been enough to cause over a million overdoses and would have been worth about $10 million on the street. Police say that the seizure was the result of an investigation carried out by detectives with the New York City Police Department's Queens Narcotics Major Case Squad.
Police reports indicate that a white Acura SUV driven by a 35-year-old man suspected by the police of being involved in drug trafficking was stopped by detectives in the Bronx. During a search of the vehicle, detectives say that they noticed two large boxes on the back seat. Inside the boxes, detectives are said to have found Styrofoam coolers containing brick-shaped packages wrapped in plastic. Police reports suggest that the packages had been concealed in raw fish and what looked to be chili.
After determining that the packages each contained significant amounts of fentanyl, the man was taken into custody and charged with possession of a controlled substance. The case has been assigned to the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor.
The penalties for drug crimes can be severe, but proving drug trafficking charges beyond any reasonable doubt is not always straightforward for prosecutors. Experienced criminal defense attorneys may question the validity of the search and seizure and the credibility of accomplice testimony, and arguing a case before a jury always involves a certain amount of risk. This is why prosecutors are often willing to reduce drug charges and enter into negotiated plea agreements even when police have provided them with compelling evidence.
Source: New York City Patch, "Drug Dealer Hid $10M Of Fentanyl In Fish, Prosecutors Say", Adam Nichols, Feb. 10, 2018
Source: The New York Post, "Smuggler busted with $10M worth of fentanyl stuffed in fish", Shawn Cohen and Danika Fears, Feb. 8, 2018