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Puerto Ricans Among 13 Busted For ‘Mail Order’ Coke

By NAN Staff Writer

News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Thurs. Feb. 9, 2017: Two Puerto Rican nationals were on Wednesday morning arrested in San Juan and charged with smuggling large amounts of narcotics from Puerto Rico through the U.S. Mail for distribution in New York City.

Alleged suppliers Luis Melendez-Sanchez and Eliud Torres were arrested and will be the subject of extradition proceedings following a multi-agency operation that resulted in the arrest and indictment of 11 other members of a narcotics trafficking group.

Others arrested and charged are Bronx-based accused ringleader Ariel Lopez-Acosta. Law enforcement officials say that between August 2015 to November 2016, Melendez-Sanchez and Torres arranged for the shipment of kilogram quantities of narcotics via the U.S. Mail from Puerto Rico to individuals employed by Lopez-Acosta in New York City and New Jersey. Some of the parcels contained narcotics concealed inside boxes of exercise equipment and children’s toys.

In order to make payment for the narcotics, Lopez-Acosta allegedly provided cash to Manuel Pimentel, who in turn arranged to deliver the money to Melendez-Sanchez and Torres in Puerto Rico.

The arrests are the result of a long-term wiretap investigation by DEA New York Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Strike Force Group Z-42 and the USPIS, which resulted in the seizure of over 21 kilograms of cocaine and heroin (46 pounds) with a combined street value of $4.5 million. Approximately $150,000 in cash, $70,000 in jewelry, a rifle and a stun gun were also seized.