New York State Police confiscated more than 100 pounds of cocaine in a dramatic, elaborate bust that brought down a major drug trafficking ring in Times Square, according to the New York Post.
Traffickers, under the watchful eye of police surveillance, were moving the drugs last month from the Crowne Plaza Hotel in three rolling suitcases when the operation unfolded.
Officers monitoring hotel surveillance cameras saw one suspect, Fernando Alvarado, leave the hotel with a suitcase later found to hold 30 pounds of cocaine.
Alavarado then placed the suitcase in the trunk of a silver BMW and sat in the passenger seat. Police eventually stopped the car and arrested both Alavarado and the driver, Gerinerdo Hernandez.
Not long after Alvarado left the Crowne Plaza, another man, Luis Cuevas-Muniz, was spotted leaving the hotel with a second suitcase, which police later found contained eight pounds of cocaine.
Cuevas-Muniz hopped in a cab with the suitcase, only to exit the cab one block later, apparently empty-handed. Police decided to split their focus: Some patrol cars tailed the cab, while other officers waited back at the hotel.
After a tense few minutes, Cuevas-Muniz was spotted back at the hotel with a third suitcase carrying 66 pounds of cocaine. Police immediately arrested him.
Patrol units also promptly nabbed the cab driver, Roberto Alvarez, who was in possession of the second suitcase.
Meanwhile, a squad of officers raided a room in the hotel and arrested two other accused drug traffickers. Plane tickets in the room revealed the gang flew from San Juan, Puerto Rico to Orlando, Fla. and finally to White Plains, NY in recent weeks.
Four of the six men arrested for drug trafficking pleaded not guilty Monday. They are being held without bail until their next court date, Dec. 17.
The confiscated cocaine weighed 48 kilograms in total, with a street value of $5 million.