A Selden man and the owner of the Queens trucking company where he worked as a driver face conspiracy and drug possession charges after DEA agents caught them with more than 30 pounds of heroin bound for Long Island and New York City, authorities said Wednesday.
Truck driver Jeen Blake, 40, of Selden, and Dorian Cabrera, 42, of Rosedale, Queens, the owner of Good Guys Transport Corp., were arraigned Wednesday in Manhattan State Supreme Court on the charges stemming from their Aug. 26 arrest in Hauppauge.
The drugs were picked up during a trucking trip to Southern California and transported east, officials said. Blake is suspected of giving an unidentified individual about $750,000 in cash for the heroin in the West Coast transaction, officials said.
The pair were among nine people arrested after two separate investigations led to the seizure of more than 50 pounds of heroin worth $12 million, said federal, state and city officials at a news conference at the New York offices of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
Officials said the heroin was destined for the streets of Long Island and New York City. The potential buyers for the drugs were middle-class residents in both places where heroin use has exploded in recent years, officials said.
"We always used to see it in the inner cities but now we are seeing it in the suburbs," said New York State Police Superintendent Joseph A. D'Amico.
Federal agents arrested Cabrera and Blake on Aug. 26 in a parking lot at 680 Old Willets Path in Hauppauge, authorities said. They were taken into custody as they climbed into the cab of a late-model truck that had traveled from Southern California to New York with the heroin hidden inside, authorities said.
Agents with the DEA, which had the truck under surveillance on its trip east, found the heroin concealed in a "trap," or hidden compartment, on the back wall of the truck's cab, according to New York City special narcotics prosecutor Bridget G. Brennan.
The majority of the heroin was formed into rectangular kilos, while the rest was in the shape of shoe soles, DEA officials said.
Seven people were arrested Sept. 25 in a separate heroin bust in the Bronx. Agents opened the trunk of a Toyota Camry parked in front of an apartment building at 1049 Boynton Ave. in the Bronx and found seven kilos of heroin inside, authorities said. Thousands of user-ready glassine envelopes containing the drug were bound in brick-shaped packages, officials said.
Armed with a search warrant, police officers then raided an apartment at the Boynton Avenue address allegedly used as a mill and seized an additional 3 kilos of heroin and drug-processing paraphernalia such as respiratory masks and coffee grinders. A kilo weighs 2.2 pounds.
The glassine envelopes were stamped with the names "Prada" and "Audi" as a way of attracting middle-class customers who seem to be more prevalent, investigators said.
"It is abundant, it's cheap, it is pure like we have never seen it before," D'Amico said of the current heroin product.
NYPD Chief Thomas Purtell said the purity of heroin now on the market is higher than at any time in the past 30 years.
The increased use of prescription painkillers is allowing people who were never hard drug users to suddenly graduate to heroin use, said James J. Hunt, acting special agent in charge of the DEA office in New York.
With Gary Dymski