Multi-million dollar drug bust
DEA raid nets cash, cocaine, weapons
By Shant Shahrigian and Sarina Trangle
Authorities indicted a 30-year-old man on Oct. 23 after law enforcement officers seized about $1.5 million worth of cocaine, $1.6 million in cash and two loaded pistols from a North Riverdale apartment on Sept. 26, according to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).
Juan Rojas faces multiple charges related to the raid at 244 Fieldston Terrace, an apartment building nestled on a tranquil North Riverdale street.
During the bust, DEA agents found Mr. Rojas in the apartment with more than 68 pounds of cocaine wrapped in cellophane and stashed in a bedroom closet, the agency said. A Port Authority K-9 unit and investigators from the city’s Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor and from the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office assisted with the raid.
Some of the narcotics were lathered in grease, and a five-gallon tub of the oily substance was found at the site of the bust.
Agent Erin Mulvey, a DEA spokeswoman, said drug traffickers smother cocaine with grease to mask the scent from tracking animals and that the tub’s presence suggested the apartment was used as a stash house for a transportation ring.
Authorities believe Mr. Rojas was trafficking about 110 pounds of cocaine a month.
Agents reportedly found the two guns under a bed and the cash in three closets along with a series of scales, drug ledgers and a money counter.
A statement from the DEA did not indicate there was any struggle in the arrest of Mr. Rojas, who faces charges of first- and third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, two counts of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon and one third-degree count of criminal possession of a weapon.
Ana Then, 20, who was present at the time of the raid at apartment 7A, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of criminal facilitation. The home is listed under Ms. Then’s name.
A woman who answered the door to the apartment would not discuss the DEA’s investigation with The Press.
Mr. Rojas’ lawyer, Patrick Jerome Brackley, said his client planned to plead not guilty at his arraignment hearing on Wednesday, Nov. 6.
KeywordsDrug bust, $1.5 million worth of cocaine, $1.6 million in cash, Drug Enforcement Agency, Juan Rojas, 244 Fieldston Terrace, Shant Shahrigian, Sarina Trangle