THE BRONX, N.Y. (PIX11) — A Bronx man brazenly ran a drug stash house, filled with $3 million worth of lethal fentanyl, cocaine and methamphetamine, in a residential building right next door to Family Court, according to the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor.
Dujuan Soto, 56, was indicted Wednesday for an operation that was initially discovered in late March by a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) team from New Jersey and the NYPD.
“It is hard to imagine a more audacious location than a building adjacent to the Bronx Family-Criminal Courthouse,” Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget Brennan said.
Brennan added that Soto was allegedly running a “fully operational, illegal drug packaging and distribution center.”
On the day Soto was arrested on March 29, agents and officers doing surveillance outside his building at 910 Sheridan Avenue noticed him leave with a blue bag and get into a silver Jeep Grand Cherokee that was parked outside 190 East 162 Street. They already had court authorization to search Soto’s vehicle and his residence, Apartment K at 910 Sheridan.
Agents said Soto’s blue bag contained a U.S. Postal Service package with about $216,500 in alleged drug proceeds. Inside, a dollar figure was written on the box.
During a search of Soto’s apartment, agents and officers said they found about 18 pounds of fentanyl, which is driving the historic, fatal overdose rates in New York City and the country.
More than 100,000 people in the U.S. died from overdoses in 2021, with synthetic opioids like fentanyl and psychostimulants like methamphetamine blamed for many deaths.
The DEA team and NYPD cops said they also discovered more than a thousand counterfeit oxycodone and alprazolam pills that allegedly contained fentanyl.
Oxycodone, a powerful painkiller, was blamed for fueling the heroin epidemic that has plagued the tri-state area. Alprazolam pills are used to treat anxiety.
Local and federal officials have warned many of these counterfeit pills marketed as oxycodone and alprazolam actually contain dangerous levels of fentanyl.
Under Soto’s bed, the law enforcement team said it found two loaded 9mm pistols, at least one of them from Brazil. The team also said it seized more than $100,000 in cash inside the apartment, along with a money counter, digital scales, a vacuum sealer and two kilo presses that are used in packaging narcotics.
Charge Gibson, Special Agent in Charge of the New York Drug Enforcement Administration office, noted the significance of the seizure was important to take note of because “only two milligrams of fentanyl has the potential to cause a fatal overdose or poisoning.”