MORRIS PARK, the Bronx — Weapons, cocaine and thousands of dollars were seized during a drug bust in the Bronx, officials announced Wednesday.
An alleged drug trafficker and two others were arrested at a Morris Park apartment and faced several charges in connection to the large-scale cocaine distribution operation, according to the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor for New York City.
During the short-term investigation, authorities raided the apartment and found more than 22 pounds of cocaine estimated at $3.5 million, $350,000 in cash, a pistol and an assault rifle, officials said.
Jose Velez, 40, allegedly oversaw a cocaine distribution network that operated from his residence along Hone Avenue in Morris Park. When agents entered the home, they found two minors, aged between 14 and 16, inside the apartment, authorities said.
Velez was taken into custody and faced charges of operating as a major trafficker, criminal possession and criminal sale of controlled substances, weapons charges and unlawfully dealing with a child.
Two others, Jordan Worthley and Melina Masullo, were charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance.
Agents had conducted surveillance on Velez on Monday when they observed him carrying a bag, drove off and placed it into another vehicle. Officers seized the vehicle and found Masullo, 27, with nearly two dozen pounds of cocaine, authorities said.
Cops then found Worthley, 29, at Velez’s building, stopped the duo and conducted a search of the apartment and a vehicle following an authorized warrant.
Authorities said some of the cocaine found had also been found hidden inside a Swiffer box from a shipment that originated in Puerto Rico.
“This case reflects the NYPD’s continued effort to stop the trafficking of narcotics by targeting those most responsible,” said Police Commissioner Dermot Shea.
“The illicit drug arena has exploded with the introduction of fentanyl and its potency exponent when combined with cocaine and other drugs,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Ray Donovan. “Over the past year we have seen a rise in cocaine seizures triple, but even more worrisome is that through our investigations we have encountered more than twice as many guns this year than last, further reaffirming the relationship between gun violence and drug trafficking.”