BRONX, New York (WABC) -- Hundreds of thousands of potentially lethal doses of fentanyl and heroin were recovered at alleged large-scale mill inside of a Bronx apartment, investigators say.
Eleven people were arrested Wednesday in connection with the alleged drug mill.
Authorities seized 400 thousand packages of suspected fentanyl and heroin, adding up to an estimated value of $4 million.
The 11 individuals arrested were charged with multiple counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance and criminally using drug paraphernalia.
Law enforcement officers dismantled the large-scale operation in the apartment at 1244 Grand Concourse in the Bronx on Wednesday, November 1.
"This investigation highlights potential dangers from a fentanyl/heroin packaging mill operating in a residential building. Not only is exposure to lethal drugs a risk to innocent residents when a half million small packages of lethal drugs are bagged in a neighboring apartment, but their security may be compromised as well," said Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget G. Brennan.
Just before 5 p.m. Wednesday, law enforcement saw Aremedis Rivera, 41, allegedly exiting the apartment building carrying two large reusable shopping bags. When police later apprehended Rivera, they found approximately 100 thousand glassine envelopes containing fentanyl and heroin, packaged into squares and wrapped in magazine paper inside the bags.
During the month-long investigation leading up to the arrests, investigators observed approximately 10 individuals coming in and out of the apartment.
Upon entering the apartment building Wednesday, law enforcement officers apprehended one of the suspects, John Luis-Reyes, 36, in the lobby. Seven of the other suspects allegedly fled the apartment as agents and officers entered. The suspects were discovered hiding on the roof, four of them hiding under solar panels.
"They all ran from an active fentanyl mill filled with hundreds of thousands of deadly doses, but they couldn't hide, not even under solar panels on the roof," DEA Special Agent in Charge Frank Tarentino said.
Hundreds of thousands of potentially lethal doses packaged for distribution were recovered during this bust, law enforcement officials say.
Inside the apartment, investigators discovered hundreds of thousands of glassine envelopes allegedly containing fentanyl, in bags found on a couch, the floor and tables. Loose powdered fentanyl was recovered from the scene as well.
"By systematically targeting heroin and fentanyl supply sources like this one in the Bronx, the NYPD and our law enforcement partners are fulfilling our mission to save lives. Dismantling this operation and preventing these deadly drugs from reaching the streets and neighborhoods of New York is our latest success in advancing that mission," said NYPD Commissioner Edward A. Caban said.
Law enforcement officials say all of the equipment necessary for packaging fentanyl and heroin was present inside the apartment.
A field test of the drugs recovered from the alleged mill indicated the presence of fentanyl in some of the narcotics recovered, but the results of the DEA lab tests are pending.