$14 million in heroin found inside truck parts in Elmhurst drug bust

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Thursday, January 28, 2016

ELMHURST, Queens (WABC) -- Two men have been arrested and charged with transporting approximately 100 pounds of heroin hidden inside vehicle parts in New York City.

Tuesday evening, a team from the DEA's New York Drug Enforcement Task conducted surveillance near Northern Boulevard and 84th Street in Elmhurst, Queens.

It was part of an ongoing investigation into heroin distribution organizations operating in the Northeast region of the United States.

At around 8:00 p.m., agents and officers spotted a blue pick-up truck and a silver pick-up truck towing a hitch trailer and driving in tandem.

Both vehicles had North Carolina license plates and were driving slowly. One vehicle was unregistered and both circled blocks several times.

At 8:45 p.m., agents and officers approached the vehicles and identified themselves.

A trained search dog alerted to the presence of controlled substances in one of the pick-up trucks and the two drivers, Peter Omar Garcia-Romero and Jose Guadencio Lantan-Vela were taken into custody. Both are natives of Guatemala.

The vehicles were taken to DEA's Manhattan headquarters where a New York State Search Warrant was executed on both vehicles.

Heroin was found concealed within a car axle casing that was in the bed of the silver pick-up truck. The axle was dissembled in three parts; and the heroin was found in the axle and the drive shaft casings.

The heroin was pressed into round shapes to fit in the axle casing and packaged in square shapes to fit in the drive shaft.

The DEA estimated that the black market value of the drugs is at least $14 million.

Both suspects face charges of conspiracy and criminal possession of a controlled substance.