Bust ‘Neat Freaks’ In Jackson Heights Drug Den
They had a closet that would make Martha Stewart proud.
It took state investigators just two weeks to uncover evidence leading to the arrest of two Jackson Heights men who stashed nearly $70,000 in cash, cocaine and drug paraphernalia at their home on 81st Street, authorities said.
Investigators had been conducting surveillance at the 81st Street home for two weeks when, on May 14, they spotted Alvaro Montoya, 51, lugging large plastic trash bags from the home and stuffing them into a Chevy Envoy SUV before driving off.
The cops followed the SUV and stopped it a short distance from the home, authorities said.
Inside two of the bags investigators found hollowed-out tires that officials believe were used to transport drugs, authorities said.
Investigators who remained on 81st Street detained Wilmar Florez-Jimenez, 30, a short while later, as he left the home. The cops recovered a small amount of cocaine from Florez-Jiminez—along with a set of keys for a street-level apartment occupied by the two men.
Armed with a search warrant, the agents entered the apartment where they seized more than eight kilograms (18 pounds) of cocaine, close to $70,000 in cash and an assortment of drug packing paraphernalia, including diluting solution, a digital scale, a steel press, grinders, plastic bags, knives, razors and respirator masks like those used by police as protection when handling narcotics.
Officials said most of the cocaine was found hidden in a custom built trapdoor inside a dresser—and in the oven, federal agents said.
Investigators also recovered Florez-Jimenez’s financial records, computer equipment and several cellphones.
In a second search of the SUV on May 16, agents discovered a half-pound of cocaine concealed beneath the third seat in the SUV.
Prosecutors last week unsealed an indictment charging Florez-Jimenez with drug possession and using drug paraphernalia. He was held in lieu of $250,000 bond and $100,000 cash at his arraignment at Manhattan Supreme Court.
Montoya was charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance and criminally using drug paraphernalia. He was held in lieu of a $50,000 bond, $15,000 cash and a $30,000 bond for a separate indictment for drugs later discovered in the car, authorities said.
The $70,000 in cash was found neatly tucked into the pockets of a shoe organizer next to several pairs of sneakers, authorities said.
“Everything was neatly stashed,” one investigator said. “It was like they watched Martha Stewart and used some of her organizational tips to keep things neat.”