A police K-9 found over 25 pounds of cocaine hidden in the wall behind an alleged drug trafficker’s bathroom vanity at his Bronx, New York apartment, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration announced Wednesday.
Cesar Chavez was taken into custody during a traffic stop after officials allegedly found a kilogram of cocaine, as well as a set of keys, that led to a search of Chavez’s apartment, according to the DEA. Chavez was sitting in a New York Police State vehicle when authorities say he received a mobile alert from a security system that someone had entered his apartment.
Officials found around 24 pounds of cocaine and $125,000 cash with the help of a K-9 who alerted to the wall, according to the DEA. The cocaine was packaged and labeled with a Chinese dragon, and officials also found over 100 pills and a makeshift pill press, the DEA said.
“The conduct charged in this case is brazen. The defendants’ alleged cocaine business flourished as the Bronx and the rest of New York City struggled with devastation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” DEA prosecutor Bridget G. Brennan said in a statement.
“After evading police, the defendants immediately returned to the scene of the crime, where agents and investigators were waiting. The recovery of $125,000 in cash and cocaine worth more than a half million dollars from an apartment in Morris Heights will put a dent in their high level trafficking operation,” Brennan added, the DEA announced.
— New York Post (@nypost) October 1, 2020
The cocaine found in Chavez’s apartment was worth around $600,000, considering the inflation in drug prices due to a decrease in narcotics entering the city during the coronavirus pandemic, according to the DEA. (RELATED: Hundreds Arrested In Nationwide Crackdown On Mexican Drug Cartel)
“As traffickers navigate COVID-impacted drug markets, their drug stashes are more valuable and their concealment methods more necessary, as evident in this investigation,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Ray Donovan.
Chavez was charged with operating as a major trafficker who allegedly acquired large quantities of cocaine, despite there being a coronavirus-related shortage, the DEA announced. Chavez and alleged co-conspirators Christian Rodriguez and Roberto Javier-Batista were also indicted with criminal possession of a controlled substance in the first and third degrees.
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