Three men were arrested Friday in what Queens and Port Authority officials are calling a conspiracy to smuggle cocaine into the United States from the Dominican Republic with the aid of a drug “mule.”
In a statement issued by his office, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said Jarrol De La Cruz, 20, Pedro DeLeon, 34, and Edward Rivera, 30, all of the Grand Concourse in the Bronx, were facing arraignment on charges including first- and second-degree attempted criminal possession of a controlled substance; second-degree conspiracy and fourth-degree criminal facilitation.
A fourth defendant, Sergio Feliz Feliz, 19, of the Dominican Republic, has been held on $200,000 bail since his arraignment on Dec. 5 of last year. His next court date is April 9.
Feliz allegedly has admitted to authorities that he swallowed 80 pellets containing cocaine. The pellets, which Feliz subsequently passed at a Queens hospital, are alleged to have contained about eight ounces of the drug.
If convicted on all charges each of the four could face up to 10 years in prison.
Brown said the arrests were the result of a lengthy investigation by the Port Authority Police Department, which has jurisdiction over Kennedy and LaGuardia airports. The investigation included both physical and court-authorized electronic surveillance.
Authorities allege that Rivera had a conversation with an unknown man on Nov. 26 of last year indicating that a shipment of drugs was coming in through the airport.
Four days later they allegedly spoke with Feliz, instructing him where to go upon arriving in New York.
At about 6 p.m. on Dec. 1, Port Authority police allegedly stopped a burgundy-colored Chevrolet Impala on the Van Wyck Expressway near the Federal Circle exit from Kennedy Airport in which De La Cruz, DeLeon, Rivera and Feliz were riding.
Brown’s office said Monday that the case against all three required further investigtion following Feliz’s arrest.