2 defendants in New Rochelle meth raid due in court Tuesday

Jesus Villanueva, left, and Christopher Melendez were arraigned

Jesus Villanueva, left, and Christopher Melendez were arraigned after they were arrested in a methamphetamine case. (Oct. 9, 2012) (Credit: Westchester County district attorney office)

Two defendants arrested as part of an investigation into the largest seizure of methamphetamine in New York State history are due in New Rochelle City Court on Tuesday.

The suspects, whom officials did not name, rented a room at a boardinghouse at 71 Church St., where the raid on Sunday took place. The two males were taken into custody on charges that they possessed 50 pounds of the powerful synthetic drug.

The street value of the seizure is estimated to be $800,000.


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Meanwhile, officials remained tight-lipped about the case Monday. Drug Enforcement Administration officials ignored repeated requests for information, and inquiries into the Westchester district attorney's office were eventually redirected to New Rochelle police, where an officer knowledgeable about the case was unavailable for comment.

DEA officials said on Sunday that the seizure and arrests came after a long-running investigation of a methamphetamine ring.

Methamphetamine is a man-made concoction that has become a plague throughout the country in the past decade or so but has not been reported to be widely used in New York State. The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that 1.2 million people have abused the illegal stimulant at least once in the past three years.

Methamphetamine, whose street names include speed, meth, ice and crystal, can be snorted, smoked or taken orally or by injection.

There have been no accusations that a methamphetamine lab was involved anywhere near where the drug was found. Such labs have proved to be quite dangerous, causing numerous fatalities across the country when chemical reactions involved in the drug's manufacture have gotten out of control, causing explosions and fires.

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