Two California men were busted with a stash of 32,000 fentanyl pills worth $1 million inside a John F. Kennedy Airport hotel this week, authorities said Wednesday.
Roodolph Pierre-Lys, 33, and Uriel Barajas-Valencia, 50, were taken into custody Monday following a multi-agency drug-trafficking probe, New York City Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget Brennan said in a press release.
Authorities said Barajas-Valencia orchestrated the delivery of the deadly pills to New York.
Both men were arraigned Tuesday in Manhattan Criminal Court on first- and third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and ordered held on $50,000 cash bail or a $100,000 bond, Brennan’s office said.
“In recent weeks, working with our law enforcement partners, we have seized hundreds of thousands of fentanyl pills and deprived suppliers of millions of dollars,” Brennan said in a statement.
“This seizure, and the arrests of two California-based defendants near Kennedy Airport, highlights our work to save lives.”
The investigation, conducted in conjunction with the Drug Enforcement Administration, New York State Police and the Queens District Attorney’s Office, is the latest in a series of operations to curb the flow of increasingly popular fentanyl into the area.
Earlier this month, authorities busted an alleged drug dealer with 20,000 rainbow-colored fentanyl pills in Chelsea — part of a disturbing trend to target children by making the dangerous drugs look like candy.
Federal officials said this week that Mexican drug cartels have turned Los Angeles into a major national distribution center for fentanyl.