El Chapo is back! If in name only.
Heroin packets bearing the stamp of “El Chapo,” the nickname of the Mexican drug lord sentenced this week to a life sentence in federal prison, were seized as part of a $5 million haul by a combined federal and state task force probing a suspected drug trafficking operation in the Bronx, officials said Friday.
Some 250,000 individual drug packets bearing the nickname of the recently convicted drug trafficker Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzmán Loera, as well as some marked “Dunkin Donuts,” “Rolex,” “Hello Kitty” and “Superman,” were seized on Tuesday and Wednesday by investigators. Some 47 rubber stamps used to name larger packages of the drugs were also seized.
The officials from the NYPD and the federal Drug Enforcement Administration were part of drug task force probe into a heroin ring, said Bridget Brennan, the city’s special narcotics prosecutor. DEA officials estimated the seized drugs to have a street value of $5 million.
The drugs were being stabled at a Wallace Avenue address in the Gun Hill section of the Bronx for shipment to Massachusetts, as well as marketing in New York, officials said. Three men were taken into custody, said Brennan. A spokeswoman for Brennan said two of the suspects were being held on bail, while a third had not yet appeared in court.
Glassine envelopes filled with heroin were found in two cars at the location. Inside an apartment at the location, investigators located a heroin processing mill with 170,000 glassine envelopes containing heroin, as well as three additional kilograms of the drug, said officials.
DEA Special Agent in Charge Ray Donovan said that investigators found stamps that were used to label packages of the glassine envelopes and that it appeared that some of the product names — notably El Chapo and Exit 4 — had special, timely significance. Exit 4 is the exit off the Massachusetts Turnpike by Springfield, Massachusetts, a destination of the heroin and the home city of one of the suspects, he noted.
This week, Guzman was sentenced to life in prison plus 30 years following his conviction earlier in the year for running the Sinaloa drug cartel that flooded the United States with cocaine and heroin. He reportedly was sent to the so-called “supermax” prison in Florence, Colorado.