Man indicted after huge drug bust at Riverdale apartment
By Shant Shahrigian and Sarina Trangle
Authorities indicted a 30-year-old man today after law enforcement officers seized about $1.5 million worth of cocaine, $1.6 million in cash and two loaded pistols from a North Riverdale apartment on Sept. 26, according to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).
Juan Rojas, 30, faces multiple charges related to the raid at 244 Fieldston Terrace, an apartment building along a tranquil street near a number of schools including Horace Mann.
During the bust, DEA agents found Mr. Rojas and more than 68 pounds of cocaine wrapped in cellophane stashed in a bedroom closet, the agency said.
Some of packages containing the narcotics were lathered in grease, and a five-gallon tub of grease was left in apartment 7A.
Agent Erin Mulvey, a DEA spokeswoman, said drug traffickers smother cocaine with grease to mask the scent from tracking animals and that the tub’s presence suggested the apartment was used as a transportation ring’s stash house.
Authorities believe Mr. Rojas was trafficking about 50 kilograms of cocaine a month.
Agents reportedly found the two guns under the bed and the cash in three closets, along with a series of scales, drug ledgers and a money counter.
A statement from the DEA did not indicate there was any struggle in the arrest of Mr. Rojas, 30, who faces charges of first-and-third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, two counts of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon and one third-degree count of criminal possession of a weapon.
Ana Then, 20, who was present at the time of the raid, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of criminal facilitation. The apartment is listed under Ms. Then’s name.
A woman who answered the door of the apartment would not discuss the DEA’s investigation with The Press.
Mr. Rojas’ lawyer, Patrick Jerome Brackley, said he planned to plead not guilty at his arraignment hearing on Wednesday, Nov. 6.
“It was another individual’s apartment and he’s going to vigorously fight the case,” Mr. Brackley said of his client during a phone interview.
News of the charges seemed to surprise neighbors.
Keywordscrime, drug bust, Juan Rojas, Drug Enforcement Agency, North Riverdale, Shant Shahrigian, Sarina Trangle