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Dublin: 4°C Tuesday 7 December 2021

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 The .380 calibre handgun and 70 kilos of heroin seized by authorities in New York on Sunday. Source: 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 Source: 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 K-9 Unit Officer Dave McIntyre, from Belmullet, Co Mayo and ESU Sergeant Denis DiDonato, with the seizure. Source: Yonkers Police Department via Facebook

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 Heroin found in a car's hidden compartment in the Bronx. Source: 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>

About the author:

Dan MacGuill

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