’Heroin packaging mill’ busted, $12 million in drugs seized, DEA says

QUEENS, N.Y. — The Drug Enforcement Administration has announced that they have brought down what is being called an “accused trafficker” and three others in connection with a large-scale heroin packaging mill in Queens, New York.

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DEA officials said in a news release they seized 39 kilograms of suspected heroin that has an estimated street value of $12 million, 1,000 fentanyl pills and $200,000 in cash from an apartment in the Ridgewood neighborhood of Queens.

Officials said Luis Martinez is the person responsible for overseeing the drug packaging operation.

The bust started Monday when law enforcement saw Martinez, who is allegedly a suspected drug trafficker, leaving a building carrying a backpack. They stopped him and searched the bag where they said they found the cash. Officials said he was also carrying four cellphones and keys to another location.

Officials said they went to the building and knocked on the door. Sofia Medina answered, and when she opened the door, law enforcement officials said they saw an empty heat-wrapped bag commonly used for wrapping a kilogram of drugs. They also heard a noise coming from behind a closed door. When they opened that room, they found two women, Jacqueline Sosa De Espinal and Maria Altagracia Berroa hiding in a bathroom with the lights off.

During the search, agents and law enforcement officers said they found one bedroom that had been set up for packaging heroin, with 31 bricks of suspected heroin wrapped in duct tape along with 6 kilograms of powder in plastic containers and zip-lock bags. Officials said a table also had about 100,000 individual doses packaged with brand names like “Red Scorpion,” “The Hulk,” “Universal” and “Venom.” Officials also found equipment used to process and package the drugs including scales, sifters and grinders.

Martinez is accused of one count of operating as a major trafficker, using drug paraphernalia and possession of a controlled substance. Medina, Altagracia Berroa and Sosa De Espinal face possession of a controlled substance and use of drug paraphernalia charges, DEA officials said.