A pair of drug dealers from Guatemala has the sooty, curbside snow dunes of Winter Storm Jonas to blame for their getting busted with $14 million worth of heroin they were hauling into Queens.
The two were busted Tuesday night as they circled and circled the same blocks in Elmhurst in separate trucks — a silver pick-up and a blue “monster truck” with massive tires — looking for a place to park on the snow-packed streets, officials said.
The area, near Northern Boulevard and 84th Street in Elmhurst, just happened to be under surveillance by agents from the US Drug Enforcement Division, the NYPD and State Police “as part of an ongoing investigation into heroin distribution organizations operating in the Northeast region of the United States,” officials from the three organizations said in a joint statement.
The silver pickup truck had no registration. Both had North Carolina plates. When agents stopped the two trucks, the drivers gave inconsistent statements, said Erin Mulvey, spokeswoman for the New York Division of the DEA.
A Port Authority sniffer dog was brought in, and the dog found 1– pounds of heroin hidden inside the beat-up old drive shaft and the axle casings that were laying in the bed of the silver pickup, officials said.
The heroin had been packaged in round shapes to fit inside the axle casings, and in square shapes to fit inside the driver shaft, officials said.
The two men, Peter Omar Garcia-Romero and Jose Guadencio Lantan-Vela were due to be arraigned Wednesday in Manhattan Criminal Court on charges of conspiracy and drug possession.
“It was a monster pickup truck driving around the streets of queens looking for a place to park in the snow, so it really stood out,” Mulvey said. “The two trucks kept going around and around in the same area.”