Federal agents assigned to the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New York office seized more than a ton of cocaine during two operations conducted in early November 2021. Three men have been charged in connection with the seized drugs. The cocaine seizures, which are the largest made in the New York metropolitan area in over a decade, were announced by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York in a Nov. 2 press release. The Mount Vernon Police Department and Westchester County Department of Public Safety assisted the DEA during the investigation.
According to court papers, DEA agents followed a 33-year-old man as he drove a rented van from a loading dock in New Jersey to a nearby residence in late September 2021. When they searched the van, the agents allegedly discovered that 10 large metal rollers had been used to conceal about 460 kilograms of cocaine. On the following day, agents returned to the loading dock where they discovered a further 460 kilograms of cocaine. A 32-year-old man and a 37-year-old man who are said to have been waiting at the residence when the van arrived were also taken into custody.
Conspiracy, possession, and distribution charges
The three suspects have all been charged with conspiring to possess and distribute five or more kilograms of cocaine. The drug charges carry a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in federal prison and a maximum sentence of life. Initial media reports do not indicate what led agents to suspect that the man was using the rented van to transport cocaine, but they do reveal that the drugs were allegedly shipped to a Bronx address from Puerto Rico.
Major drug cases
Cases like this one sometimes fall apart when it is learned that the police officers or federal agents involved conducted warrantless searches based on insufficient probable cause. They may also be resolved quickly when the suspects plead guilty in return for lighter sentences. The attorneys representing these defendants will likely scrutinize official reports closely to determine whether or not the search that led to the discovery of the drugs was constitutional, and they may encourage their clients to consider plea agreements if federal agents appear to have acted properly.