Eric Schneiderman for Attorney General

14 members of Bronx-based drug smuggling ring arrested for allegedly bringing $1.5M in cocaine and heroin into U.S.

October 27, 2016

As published by the NY Daily News on October 26, 2016.

A Bronx-based drug ring was knocked out Wednesday for allegedly smuggling over $1.5 million in drugs into the country hidden inside boxing gear.

Fourteen smugglers were indicted for an alleged scheme that moved cocaine and heroin from Puerto Rico into New York, Massachusetts, North Carolina and Florida, said State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

The alleged traffickers — including six reputed kingpins — moved at least 20 kilos of narcotics through the mail in secret compartments packed inside boxing equipment and religious statues, officials said.

One of the ringleaders, 36-year-old Angel Melendez Orsini, allegedly orchestrated cocaine deals from his smuggled-in phone inside his cell at Miami Federal Prison, where he was already serving out a sentence for drug trafficking.

Investigators from the state AG’s office and the New York State Police seized narcotics with a street value of over $1.5 million in what they called “Operation Jailhouse Rock,” authorities said.

Those charged as major traffickers included Orsini, Francisco Vega Vasquez, 51; Francisco Vega Cancel, 26; Juan Rodriguez, 50; Edwin Vega, 40; and Jan Santiago Garcia, 38.

If convicted, all face life in prison.

Eight other people charged in the Bronx Supreme Court indictment face up to 20 years behind bars.