BELMONT, Bronx (WABC) -- Authorities are speaking out about their effort to crack down on drugs as four men were arraigned Friday in federal court on narcotics conspiracy distribution and possession charges.
The defendants did not enter a plea on Friday after officials say they busted one of the largest pill mill operations ever seen in New York City history.
Wellington Eustate Espinal, 41, Cristian Eustate Espinal, Heriberto Eustate Espinal, 27, and Roberto Jose Vargas-Paulino, 31, are all charged with conspiracy to distribute narcotics and narcotics distribution.
Both counts carry a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum sentence of life in prison.
The defendants were arrested by agents from Homeland Security Investigations, United States Postal Inspection Service, Drug Enforcement Administration, New York State Police, and NYPD officers on Thursday.
At least two dozen kilos of suspected fentanyl and more than 200,000 pills were seized from the Bronx home on a residential block on Beaumont Avenue.
Four commercial pill presses were seized by the DEA, and a kilo press was also recovered.
"In this case there was up to 20 and a half kilograms of fentanyl powder in the location and they're taking that powder and they're pressing it into pills, and these are the fake pills laced with fentanyl that are killing Americans," said DEA Special Agent in Charge Frank Tarentino.
Tarentino spoke out on the third big bust in the Bronx in less than a month.
The crackdown on home drug mills is picking up steam after a baby boy lost his life last month because of fentanyl exposure at a Bronx pill mill disguised as a day care.
"They're hiding this behavior, this criminal behavior, this deception, this treachery," Tarentino said.
They were trying to blend in with the community in a borough, the DEA says, is especially advantageous to dealers in New York City.
"This is a strategic opportunity for the cartels to utilize the Bronx as a launch pad to further their drug networks in the greater New York area and then all the way up into the Northeast," Tarentino said.
Though New York City might be ground zero for fentanyl distribution, the DEA says law enforcement is tracking these operations all the way back to Mexico.
"We're going after the cartels and this is another example of us targeting organizations fueling this epidemic, and we're going to hold them accountable," Tarentino said.
The DEA says seven out of 10 pills have a deadly dose of fentanyl in them.
They say cartels look to intentionally add fentanyl to all drugs to increase addiction and grow their customer base and income.
This is the third troubling discovery in the borough in less than a month, with the recent being a discovered in Kingsbridge Heights.