Those arrested include tenant Jesus Perez Cabral along with his accused accomplices, Johnny Beltrez, David Rodriguez and Richard Rodriguez.
Agents watching a Central Park West building spotted David Rodriguez getting into an Uber and chose to follow him, officials said.
“Getting an Uber” took on a new meaning today after federal drug enforcement agents announced the arrest of four men running a drug mill on Central Park West who were allegedly selling baggies of fentanyl and heroin stamped with the popular ride-hailing app’s logo. David Rodriguez, who was carrying two boxes and a white shopping bag, got into a black Honda Accord driven by Uber driver Richard Rodriquez and the pair drove less than a mile before they were pulled over and the vehicle was searched-with the investigators finding packages holding a combination of fentanyl and heroin, according to a DEA press release.
“Agents also found $30,000 in cash, multiple cellphones, ledgers and more empty glassine envelopes stamped with names including “Panda”, Black Friday” and “Wild Card”.
Agents followed the pair – who are not related, according to officials – and stopped the black Honda Accord at 121st Street and Amsterdam Avenue.
After driving a few blocks, the auto was pulled over by agents who found packages containing a substance they suspected to be a mixture of fentanyl and heroin, two substances that have been the main culprits in the current opioid crisis. Believing the substances were fentanyl and heroin, investigators arrested David Rodriguez and Richard Rodriguez. They say that Perez-Cabral admitted to having a gun and drugs in the apartment. David Rodriguez faced a $200,000 bail, with smaller amounts for Perez-Cabral and Beltrez, but Richard Rodriguez-the Uber driver-had his bail set at just $1,000.
A total of nine kilograms worth of drugs were seized in the operation.
“These individuals are alleged to be transporting close to 20 pounds of the highly addictive drugs of fentanyl and heroin, valued in the millions, through our city streets”, said Angel Melendez, special agent in charge of Homeland Security investigations in NY, in a statement.
The defendants were arraigned Friday in Manhattan Criminal Court on charges of criminal possession of a controlled substance and conspiracy.
According to Hunt, if their analysis is confirmed, the latest seizure had the potential of killing half of New York City’s population. According to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, fentanyl is driving a spike in fatal overdoses, which reached an all-time high of 1,374 deaths in New York City in 2016 – a 46% increase over 2015.