Two men connected to a major Mexican drug ring supplying heroin to both Nassau and Suffolk counties have been arrested with more than 65 pounds of the drug, authorities said.
Agents of the federal Drug Enforcement Administration from Long Island and investigators from the office of the New York City Special Narcotics Prosecutor arrested Fernando Quiles, 47, of Fort Worth, Texas, and Jorge Ayala, 33, of Greenwich, Connecticut, near a house in Croton-on-Hudson, Westchester County, on Tuesday evening.
The heroin was found concealed in the axle of a trailer truck near a house that one of the men had just rented. The stash, which is the equivalent of more than 30 kilos, had a wholesale value of $2.3 million and a street value of $4.6 million, officials said.
Repackaged for street sales, there was enough heroin for more than a half-million individual doses, officials said.
Officials would not disclose the Long Island areas which the heroin was intended for, citing an ongoing investigation. Bridget Brennan, head of the special prosecutor’s office, said the two suspects also sold heroin to distributors in New York City and along the East Coast.
“This heroin had a long journey from Mexico to New York, where it was destined to be distributed,” said James Hunt, the head of the DEA in New York. “Our wiretap investigation culminated in telltale signs of a major trafficking organization — a painted-over tractor-trailer from Las Cruces, Mexico, a sophisticated concealed compartment capable of smuggling 30 kilograms of heroin into the U.S., and a house devoid of anything but drug-packaging materials and narcotics ledger.”
Officials said the arrests and drug seizure were the result of a three-month investigation involving both wiretaps and surveillance.
Agents and investigators moved in and made the arrests after the wiretaps revealed Quiles and Ayala were expecting the tractor-trailer containing the heroin at the Westchester location, officials said. The tractor-trailer crossed the Mexican border in Texas en route to Westchester, officials said.
“Members of this sophisticated and well-funded narcotics trafficking organization undoubtedly believed they were home-free when the drugs concealed inside the axle went undetected at border crossings and in a transcontinental journey,” Brennan said.
Ayala and Quiles were arraigned Wednesday night in Manhattan Criminal Court and held without bail on a number of charges, including first-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.
If convicted, Ayala faces 12 to 24 years in prison; Quiles faces 8 to 20 years.