Tue. Apr 16th, 2024

SOUNDVIEW, Bronx (WABC) — Police say they busted a sophisticated drug trafficking ring operating from a Bronx pizzeria across the street from an elementary school.

Authorities said they recovered more than 100 pounds of suspected cocaine, crack cocaine, fentanyl, heroin, and oxycodone with an estimated street value of $4 million from Mexzzarella Pizza last week.

The pizzeria, on Soundview Avenue, is located across the street from P.S. 69.

On Monday, officials announced the arrests of Gaudencio Rosendo Perez, Zulema Cardenas Espinoza and Alexander Samboy.

The investigation began on Oct. 19 when agents and officers said they saw Perez and Espinoza taking a heavy shopping bag out of a car and into the pizza shop.

Less than two hours later, surveillance teams saw Samboy with what appeared to be a light and empty backpack and enter the pizzeria. Just over 10 minutes later, police said they saw him leave the store but this time his bag appeared to be heavily weighted.

Samboy’s vehicle was stopped minutes later and police say that is when they found five kilograms of suspected cocaine.

Authorities later took Perez and Espinoza into custody before conducting a search of Mexzzarella Pizza. That is when they said they found 42 kilograms of what is believed to be cocaine, one kilogram of heroin/fentanyl, 1,000 glassine envelopes containing suspected oxycodone and fentanyl, large rocks of cocaine, a kilo press, and approximately $40,000 from the basement.

Agents said they also recovered 100 vials of suspected crack cocaine and a yellow powdery substance on the ground floor.

The vials were stored near the pizza counter for convenient sales or to provide samples to the customers, authorities said.

The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene said 3,026 people fatally overdosed in NYC alone in 2022 and only two milligrams of fentanyl is considered a potentially lethal dose.

“This drug trafficking organization was cooking up more than pizza in the Bronx, the large stash of cocaine found in the basement of Mexzzarella Pizza is very significant because it had the potential to supply drug networks throughout the Northeast,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Frank Tarentino. “Cocaine is being laced with fentanyl, which is contributing to poisonings and unnecessary deaths in New York and across the country.”

ALSO READ | NYPD officer and man she lived with arrested for allegedly distributing fentanyl and heroin

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