More than 1,300lbs of candles, many penis-shaped, filled with meth worth $1million arrived in 27 cardboard boxes in Long Island on Tuesday.
A DEA task force allegedly tricked the group of drug dealers into delivering the boxes to a Paterson, New Jersey, warehouse, where they seized the boxes.
‘It’s kind of a cross between “Breaking Bad” and a “Sex and the City” case,’ a source told the New York Daily News.
The bust was part of a larger investigation into drug trafficking.
More than 1,300lbs of candles concealing crystal meth were sent to a New Jersey warehouse
Federal authorities believe that Mexican cartels are trying to create a market for meth in New York City.
‘DEA has seen drugs smuggled in numerous ways: concealed in puppies, lollipops, furniture and produce. But secreting a million dollars’ worth of methamphetamine in wax candles of various shapes is shocking,’ DEA Special Agent in charge James Hunt said.
Five alleged members of a Mexican cartel have been arrested and accused of conspiring distribute designer drugs.
Agustin Zamora-Vega, 30, Orlando Alcantara, 33; Cindy Carrillo, 27; Santos Minjarez, 26, and Jose Luis Gonzalez-Solis, 28, are facing 10 years to life in prison if convicted.
A DEA task force used an undercover agent to convince the group to deliver the boxes to the warehouse where five people were arrested on conspiracy to distribute
The defendants, a California man and woman and three Mexican men in the U.S. illegally, allegedly planned to use the warehouse to convert the methamphetamine into crystal meth.
Investigators learned about the New Jersey-bound shipment on when an undercover agent met with Zamora-Vega, alias ‘Julio Cesar’, in a Manhattan hotel.
The agent showed him an apartment in Yonkers and suggested it as a place to store methamphetamine and convert it into crystal meth.
When Zamora-Vega didn’t like the Yonkers spot, the undercover agent showed him the Paterson warehouse.
When Zamora-Vega and his co-horts loaded the meth candles into the warehouse, the DEA, Homeland Security Investigations and NYPD revealed themselves.
All five suspects were arraigned in Manhattan federal court. Four were remanded but Carrillo couldn’t make her $250,000 bail.
In 2013 more than 12.3 million people in the U.S. reported using methamphetamine at some point during their lifetime, according to a DEA report.
How crystal meth affects the brain
- Crystal meth, often called ‘ice’ is a stimulant drug, a type of methamphetamine that speeds up the messages travelling between the brain and the body.
- It usually looks like small chunky clear crystals, which is why it was given the name ice. It can also come as white or brownish crystal-like powder.
- Ice is generally smoked or injected and the effects can be felt in 3 to 7 seconds. The effects are slower when swallowed or snorted and can last around 6 hours.
- Ice causes dopamine levels in the brain to shoot from 100 to around 1,250 units, about 12 times as much of a release of dopamine as you get from food and sex and other pleasurable activities.
- When the drug wears off, users experience a debilitating depression and urge to get more of the drug.
- Persistent use can change the brain chemistry, destroying the wiring in the brain’s pleasure centers and making it increasingly impossible to experience any pleasure at all.
- Long term use can cause severe impairment in memory, judgment and motor coordination, similar to symptoms seen in individuals suffering from Parkinson’s Disease.
- Changes in brain chemistry can lead to violent behaviour, anxiety and wakefulness because of the adrenaline surge the drug causes.
- And then there is psychotic behaviour, such as paranoia, hallucinations and delusions. Many users report feeling insects crawling beneath their skin.