Alleged heroin ring busted in the Bronx

July 27, 2010 3:48:52 PM PDT
Authorities in the Bronx have announced a major heroin bust in the Fordham section.

Police arrested 31 people, seized more than 1.5 million dollars in cash and seized a large quantity of heroin during raids carried out on Tuesday.

The defendants are allegedly part of a lucrative heroin distribution ring known as "La Perla Organization."

"It's estimated that this operation was dealing about 40-thousand dollars a day on the street, which, if you do the math, comes out to about 14 million dollars annually," Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson said.

A grand jury returned an 82 count indictment charging most of the arrested defendants with conspiracy to distribute narcotics and varying counts of the possession and sale of heroin.

According to investigators, most of those arrested are either Latin King gang members or gang associates.

The alleged ring leaders, Wilson Guerrero (aka Wilson), 48; Antonio Carasquillo (aka Tony), 51; Enrique Esquillin (aka Rick), 45; and Luis Esquillin (aka Gabe), 47, facing a maximum sentence of up to life imprisonment if convicted of the most serious charge under the Drug Kingpin Statute. The arrests are the result of a 9-month-long joint investigation involving the Bronx D.A. Gangs / Major Case Bureau, the NYPD Gang/Major Case Division, the NYPD Bronx D.A. Squad, and the Bronx District Attorney Detective Investigators.

Investigators used court ordered wiretaps on 28 telephone lines, video surveillance, observations by detectives and heroin "buys" made by undercover detectives to gather evidence.

During the course of the investigation, detectives confiscated heroin, guns, twelve vehicles, and jewelry.

Over a five year period, the La Perla organization allegedly sold heroin at three locations: a two block stretch on Valentine Avenue between 194th and 196th Streets, 157th Street and Gerard Avenue, and 180th Street and Mohegan Avenue.

Customers came from as far away as Connecticut, officials said.

Authorities said they do expect to make more arrests.