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Saturday 2 December 2023 Dublin: 0°C

Irish police officer praised for his role in record New York heroin seizure

Dave McIntyre, originally from Co Mayo, helped locate $50 million worth of heroin.

Heroin Record Seizure Associated Press The .380 calibre handgun and 70 kilos of heroin seized by authorities in New York on Sunday. Associated Press

Updated: 2.21 am

THE US DRUG Enforcement Agency (DEA) has seized more than 70 kilos (154 pounds) of heroin in the New York borough of the Bronx.

The drugs, with a conservatively estimated street value of $50 million, were discovered on Sunday in a car in the Fieldston neighbourhood, along with $2 million in cash, and a handgun, the DEA announced overnight.

Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget G. Brennan sought to give an idea of just how large the haul was:

To put it in perspective, this load was so large it carried the potential of supplying a dose of heroin to every man, woman and child in New York City.

The $50 million (€45 million) heroin bust is the DEA’s fourth-largest ever, and the biggest they have ever conducted in New York.

Heroin Record Seizure Associated Press Associated Press

The largest heroin seizure in American history came in 1991, when customs authorities found 1,200 pounds of China White in a warehouse in Hayward, California, the LA Times reported.

In 1989, federal agents confiscated 21.4 tonnes of cocaine (worth $6 billion) in Los Angeles – still the largest drugs seizure in US history.

Sunday’s haul was the culmination of a year-long operation involving several federal and local agencies, with a court-ordered wiretap providing a breakthrough in the case.

Surveillance over the weekend led to a search on a Chevrolet Suburban, where 70 rectangular packages marked as “Rolex” were discovered in a hidden compartment.

It emerged on Wednesday evening that the drugs were located with the help of police from the borough of Yonkers – including Dave McIntyre, originally from Belmullet, Co Mayo.

The department said on its Facebook page:

Great work by Yonkers PD K-9 Unit Officer Dave McIntyre and ESU Sergeant Denis DiDonato. At the request of the DEA, both responded to a location in the Bronx.
K9 Slygo indicated the presence of narcotics. Subsequently, over 70 kilos and 2 million dollars were seized.

11215123_935675419786910_2938522840053824777_n Yonkers Police Department Yonkers Police K-9 Unit Officer Dave McIntyre, from Belmullet, Co Mayo and ESU Sergeant Denis DiDonato, with the seizure. Yonkers Police Department

Subsequent searches on two nearby apartments yielded $2 million (€1.8 million) in cash, and a .380 calibre handgun.

The drugs were part of what the DEA is calling a major trafficking operation involving the notorious Mexican Sinaloa Cartel, and had been destined for distribution throughout New York City, as well as Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island.

051915_fig1 DEA Heroin found in a car's hidden compartment in the Bronx. DEA

Two men were arrested in November as part of the operation, but on Sunday agents caught the alleged kingpin, Jose “Hippie” Mercedes (56), along with 19-year-old Yenci Cruz Francisco.

They have both been charged with “Operating as a major trafficker” and criminal possession of a controlled substance.

Originally published: 8.12 pm Wednesday

Read: Drug smuggler involved in €400m cocaine haul off Cork coast appeals conviction>

Read: Gardaí seize half a million euro worth of cocaine in Dublin>

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