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State Police: $1.3 million in meth seized in parkway traffic stop

Francisco Roman Parra Perez, 27, and Sandra Cardenas

Francisco Roman Parra Perez, 27, and Sandra Cardenas Parra, 36, face felony charges after troopers found 22 pounds of methamphetamine in Parra Perez's vehicle, State Police said. Credit: NYSP

New York State Police troopers busted a pair of apparent drug couriers from Arizona carrying $1.3 million worth of crystal meth destined for sale on Nassau streets after a weekend traffic stop on the Northern State Parkway, police said Monday.

“All indications are they were heading into Nassau County to drop off the product,” said Maj. David Candelaria, commander of the state police Troop L in Farmingdale, in an interview Monday. “The defendants did appear to be drug couriers, but our investigation is in its infancy. The investigation will determine if there is a pipeline between Arizona and Nassau County.”

Francisco Roman Parra Perez, 27, and Sandra Cardenas Parra, 36, both residents of Phoenix, were taken into custody Saturday night after they were stopped at the same time in separate vehicles, police said. They face felony charges of criminal possession of a controlled substance, police said.

The 22 pounds of methamphetamine, which is about 40,000 doses, is sold on the street as crystal meth, police said. The drugs were found in Parra Perez’s vehicle, Candelaria said. Troopers determined they had “reasonable suspicion” to believe there were drugs in his car during the traffic stop for a broken taillight and speeding and brought in a drug-sniffing dog, Candelaria said.

Nassau District Court Judge Elizabeth Fox-McDonough remanded the pair at their arraignment Monday in First District Court in Hempstead on felony charges of criminal possession of a controlled substance, said district attorney spokeswoman Miriam Sholder.

Defense attorneys for Parra Perez and Cardenas Parra could not be reached for comment.

The traffic stop occurred Saturday about 7:50 p.m. after two troopers working the parkway as an enforcement team saw the vehicles following each other eastbound on the Northern State Parkway in Nassau near the Queens border, police said.

When the suspects saw the troopers, they exited the parkway “abruptly” at Exit 25 on Lakeville Road in Lake Success, Candelaria said.

“The fact that both of these vehicles exited the parkway from the left lane,” he said, “looked like an apparent attempt to evade the troopers, so that also rose the troopers’ suspicions.”

According to a felony complaint, Parra Perez was driving a 2000 gray Jeep Grand Cherokee with Arizona tags. Cardenas Parra was driving a gray 2017 Mitsubishi Mirage with New Jersey plates.

Parra Perez was driving east in the center lane with an “improper taillight,” according to the complaint. Cardenas Parra also was heading east in the center lane and swerved into the right lane, “narrowly missing another vehicle,” according to the complaint.

“The New York State Police and our partner agencies will continue to attack the illicit trafficking of dangerous narcotics into our communities,” Candelaria said.

Parra Perez received a ticket for operating a motor vehicle without insurance and the broken taillight. Cardenas Parra received a ticket for making an unsafe lane change. They’re both due back in court on Wednesday.

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