The feds have busted up a drug ring that smuggled 5 tons of cocaine into the U.S. by hiding the narcotic in furniture, authorities said Thursday.
Four men were arrested for for bringing 4,500 kilos of cocaine from Puerto Rico to New York, Massachusetts, Florida and Connecticut, prosecutors said. The nose candy, worth a whopping $144 million on the street, was stashed in hollowed-out custom tables and other furniture that contained 100-kilo quantities of cocaine.
“Traffickers have always found new and innovative methods of smuggling drugs into the United States. In this case, they allegedly concealed cocaine into hollowed-out furniture. This nearly three-year investigation has dismantled an international drug trafficking organization that allegedly has been shipping thousands of kilograms of cocaine, ultimately destined for our communities,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Ray Donovan.
The crew allegedly shipped 70 large parcels from the island territory to the continental United States between September 2018 and June 2019.
Pedro “Peter” Guzman Martinez, 47, of Puerto Rico, was responsible for delivering the cargo with coke-filled furniture, prosecutors said. He also allegedly handled shipping logistics using a false company name.
Fellow Puerto Ricans Jorge “Chinito” Miranda-Sang, 42, and Luis “Kiké” Gomez Ortiz, 29, hired people to sign for the shipments, unpack the cocaine and distribute it, prosecutors said.
Abel “Coche Bomba” Montilla, 48, was a Massachusetts-based cocaine delivery coordinator, according to an indictment. At least a dozen packages were sent to an address associated with Montilla, authorities claimed.
The case was investigated by the New York Drug Enforcement Task Force, which is composed of DEA agents, NYPD detectives and New York State Police investigators.
“As alleged, for a time, the defendants were able to hide their cocaine, but they were unable to hide the scheme from our law enforcement partners,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said.