Federal agents have arrested a Westbury couple and a Roosevelt man in connection with the seizure of almost 40 pounds of Long Island-bound heroin worth $5 million on the street, according to officials and court papers.
Agents with the Department of Homeland Security and the Drug Enforcement Administration arrested the three while tracking the heroin from Guatemala to the couple's Westbury home, the papers said.
Arrested and charged with conspiracy to import heroin into the United States were Omar Valera-Martinez, 25, of Roosevelt; Christian Omar Guzman, 27, of Westbury; and Tracy Suarez-Cruz, 28, of Westbury.DataLI crime stats
Valera-Martinez and Guzman were arraigned Wednesday at the federal Court in Central Islip, and held without bail; Suarez-Cruz was released on $25,000 bond, according to officials.
Valera-Martinez's attorney, Stuart Grossman, of Forest Hills, declined to comment. Attorneys for Guzman and Suarez-Cruz could not be reached immediately for comment.
Smugglers concealed the heroin -- 17.9 kilos, or almost 40 pounds -- in a shipment of 240 plastic bags labeled coffee and shipped from Guatemala to Westbury by DHL, through a courier services facility in Ohio, the papers said.
The heroin was worth about $700,000 wholesale, and as much as $5 million on the street, officials said.
Customs officers at the Ohio DHL facility opened one of the plastic bags and found it contained "an off-white, tannish powdery substance" that tested positive for heroin. Subsequent testing showed that a total of 29 bags contained heroin, instead of coffee, the papers said.
An agent posing as a DHL courier delivered the package to the Westbury home shared by Guzman and Suarez-Cruz, his girlfriend, the papers said. Suarez-Cruz accepted the package, was arrested by agents and waived her Miranda rights, according to court papers. Suarez-Cruz said Valera-Martinez paid Guzman $500 to receive the drugs from Guatemala, the papers said.
Agents subsequently arrested Guzman and Valera-Martinez and both admitted to involvement in the plan to import heroin with Valera-Martinez telling authorities of his association "with a drug trafficking organization in Guatemala," the court papers said.
If convicted, the three could face up to life in prison.