Three people were arrested this week in connection with an investigation into two suspected Manhattan stash houses where authorities seized roughly 44 pounds of heroin and 17 pounds of crystal meth, believed to have a combined street value of more than $12 million.
Officials said the suspects are members of a "sophisticated" drug trafficking ring based out of two apartments in a Washington Heights building. Prosecutors allege the apartments were used to house narcotics for distribution in New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and elsewhere.
The Wadsworth Avenue building provided the suspects with "easy access" to transportation routes via the George Washington Bridge, Interstate 95 and the RFK Triborough Bridge, according to the Special Narcotics Prosecutor's Office.
Prosecutors said the suspects were arraigned in Manhattan Criminal Court on Tuesday night. Two were denied bail; the third suspect's bail was set at $250,000.
The arrests came after several days of surveillance, when investigators observed the suspects entering and exiting an apartment in the building with large bags. A search warrant was conducted on the first apartment at 4:30 p.m. on Monday, which led to a second search at another apartment in the same building at 9 p.m.
In the first apartment, authorities said they found:
- $120,000 in bedroom safe
- 17 pounds of methamphetamine and shoe soles ripped from women's footwear in a hidden compartment behind tiles in a bathroom (Officials said traffickers commonly used hollowed-out shoes to move narcotics.)
- 100 grams of heroin from a jacket in a closet
- Numerous cell phones
- Drug ledgers
- Electrical bill for a second apartment in the building (to which two suspects also had keys)
In the second apartment, authorities said they found:
- "Sophisticated" counter-surveillance system, including two pinhole cameras in the frame above the front door
- A monitor where footage from the cameras was fed
- A DVR that recored the video
- More than 24 pounds of heroin in brick form inside a trap in a kitchen cabinet
- Roughly 11 pounds of heroin between a mattress and box spring
- More than 2 pounds of heroin inside a TV stand
- About 5 pounds of heroin in a trap behind a bathroom medicine cabinet
- Packaging materials
- Kilo presses designed to compress narcotics into brick form
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