Law enforcement raid yields drug haul


An arrest warrant at a Spuyten Duyvil apartment led law enforcement agencies to find what they believed was a narcotics packaging and distribution operation. In addition to two arrests, police said they recovered a cache of more than 25 pounds of suspected fentanyl and cocaine, and about $100,000 in cash.

Aracely Ortiz, 43, and Jonathan Corona, 36, were arraigned last Friday at the Manhattan criminal court and charged with two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the first degree, as well as the third degree, according to a criminal complaint filed by the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor.

Several agency representatives and New York Police Department Commissioner Edward Caban praised the operation.

“Today’s charges are another example of the remarkable combined efforts of NYPD investigators and our state and federal law enforcement partners,” Caban said. “Their skill and dedication are unparalleled, and I commend every member of the U.S. Marshals’ task force for their commitment to reducing crime and enhancing quality of life in all our neighborhoods.”

Members of the U.S. Marshals New York/New Jersey Regional Fugitive Task Force were executing an unrelated arrest warrant for Ortiz at an apartment inside 536 Kappock St. around 6 a.m. on Wednesday, May 8. Upon entering the unit, the agency said they found Corona allegedly exiting a bedroom, while Ortiz was visible inside. They also said they found a trove of narcotics and drug packaging equipment.

After arresting the two, the New York Drug Enforcement Task Force was alerted and, at around 1:35 p.m., conducted a court-authorized search of the two-bedroom apartment with help from the Special Narcotics Prosecutor Investigators Unit, comprised of NYPD and federal Drug Enforcement Administration personnel.

In the first bedroom, the agencies allegedly found a glass-topped table with numerous glassine envelopes filled with fentanyl, a scale and other narcotics packaging paraphernalia. Inside a bedroom closet, they found a safe that allegedly concealed three brick-shaped white packages of fentanyl and two brick-shaped black packages of cocaine.

Inside the second bedroom, they reportedly recovered a money counter, about $100,000 in cash, a large bag with six brick-shaped packages of cocaine and three glass jars containing fentanyl. Investigators also said they found 10 additional packages with a yet-to-be-identified substance.

Narcotics recovered from the safe tested positive for the presence of fentanyl and cocaine. The results of DEA laboratory analysis of narcotics seized are pending, according to narcotics-prosecutor officials.

Neighbors in the area told The Press they were shocked to learn of the drug raid.

“It seems odd to me,” neighbor Josh Radien said. “It’s a very quiet neighborhood, very family oriented, a lot of older people, very mellow. But you never know what’s going on behind those doors.”

Karen Sholto, another resident in the area, said everybody in the neighborhood was in shock. She also said there was a time she saw suspicious figures in the area.

“There was a very weird moment where there were some guys hanging out by the entrance to the garage,” Sholto said. “A car with tinted windows was trying to go into the garage and I was walking across right at that moment. And there were a lot of eyes darting around and I remember thinking this is weird, like something’s going on.”

The Press was able to reach several residents at The Shelby, where the raid took place, but none were willing to give out their names for fear of retaliation. One woman, who asked not to be named, had concerns about the vetting process for tenants.

“It’s definitely not comforting to know that it was going on,” she said. “There’s a lot of kids in the building too. It’s definitely a little unnerving. I’ve been in the building for a while and it’s been always super quiet. Nothing like this has ever happened. So it definitely raises some questions.”

The Press reached out to two representatives of the building’s property manager, Point Kappock Holdings. One did not respond to the request for comment at press time, the other declined to comment.

Special narcotics prosecutor Bridget Brennan commended Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark and all the agencies’ work on the investigation.

“New York City continues to be a regional hub of narcotics trafficking,” Brennan said. “Our office and law enforcement partners must be ever vigilant to stanch the flow of lethal drugs like fentanyl. Close collaboration between local, state and federal law enforcement enabled the U.S. Marshals Regional Fugitive Task Force and the New York Drug Enforcement Task Force to effectively intercept deadly drugs before they hit the streets.”

The U.S. Marshals office declined to comment on the nature of its initial warrant for Ortiz’s arrest.

Spuyten Duyvil apartment narcotics operation fentanyl cocaine drug raid arrests law enforcement collaboration New York Police Department U.S. Marshals drug trafficking