Photo Courtesy of Ren’s Pet Depot
This crate is similar to the one in which the heroin was discovered.
By Forum Staff
A sweet faced, cream colored Sheppard mix dog, transported in a crate from Puerto Rico to JFK Airport this week, was according to authorities used as a drug mule in an attempt to smuggle more that $1 million dollars of heroin.
Two men from Bronx and Putnam Counties have been charged with drug possession and conspiracy after ten kilos (22.046 pounds) of heroin were found hidden in the false bottom of the dog’s crate.
According to District Attorney Brown. “It’s alleged that man’s best friend was used in an attempt to smuggle drugs into the city, but great police work led to the seizure of more than 10 kilograms of heroin…” And with an estimated street value of over a million dollars, the defendants will face considerable prison time if convicted.
Authorities have stepped up their efforts to reduce the amount of heroin trafficking that has made a tremendous comeback in New York City and surrounding suburbs with the number of fatal overdoses outpacing homicides.
Law enforcement officials say their efforts are concentrated on all phases of the surge in heroin distribution including trafficking selling and distribution of the illegal drug.
Police Commissioner James O’Neill said, “This amount of heroin, when distributed at the street level, would jeopardize numerous lives and undoubtedly contribute to other crime. No matter how, or from where, you traffic illegal drugs into New York City, you will be tracked-down and prosecuted through these coordinated enforcement operations.”
The defendants, identified as Samuel Seabrooks, 35, of the Bronx, and Carlos Betancourt-Morales, 27, of Carmel New York were arraigned on charges of first-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and second-degree conspiracy. Bail was set at $500,000 bond/$250,000 cash for each defendant with an order to return to court on April 10.
According to the charges, Seabrooks and Betancourt-Morales met up at a Bronx IHOP restaurant at approximate 6:00 p.m. last Friday and then traveled in separate vehicles to American Airlines Priority Parcel Services at JFK Airport. They arrived around an hour and Bentancort-Morales approached Seabrook’s vehicle. The two men had a short conversation after which Betancourt-Morales entered the cargo building and signed an American Airlines cargo air waybill delivery receipt giving him authorization to accept a crate containing the dog and which had a chargeable weight of approximately 86 pounds. He was then stopped by police as he pushed the crate on a rolling cart toward the building’s exit.
A court-authorized search warrant was executed crate and police recovered ten packages of heroin. Each of the packages was in brick form, encased in dark and clear plastic wrap, and was three to four inches in width and six to eight inches in length. The packages were stamped with the Nike Swoosh and a five-pointed star.
If convicted the defendants each face up to 20 years in prison.