Massive Drug Operation in a Bronx Pizzeria Busted
Federal Authorities Seize Multi-Million Dollar Drug Ring
A Bronx pizzeria, Mexzzarella Pizzeria, was serving up more than just slices of pizza. Federal authorities revealed on Monday, October 23, that they had charged three men with running a multi-million-dollar drug ring out of the eatery, which is located directly across from a public elementary school, local news reported.
Gaudencio Rosendo Perez, Zulema Cardenas Espinoza, and Alexander Samboy were accused of using the pizzeria as a front for their illicit operation. The trio was allegedly trafficking a cocktail of narcotics, including cocaine, heroin, fentanyl, and other substances. According to the authorities, the total value of the seized drugs is estimated to be around $4 million.
"This drug trafficking organization was cooking up more than pizza in the Bronx," said Frank Tarentino, the special agent in charge of the federal Drug Enforcement Administration’s New York division, in a statement.
The bust came after local, state, and federal law enforcement officers, who had been surveilling the trio, searched the pizzeria on October 19. Authorities reportedly found 42 kilograms of suspected cocaine, a kilogram of heroin and fentanyl, 1,000 glassine envelopes of Oxycodone and fentanyl, big rocks of cocaine, and about 100 vials of crack cocaine.
Officials said they watched the men throughout the day of the bust, observing them as they frequently entered and exited the Soundview Avenue pizzeria carrying bags and backpacks.
Law enforcement later pulled Samboy over on Metcalf Avenue as he drove away in a silver Subaru Impreza with Connecticut license plates. During the traffic stop, authorities allegedly discovered five kilos of cocaine wrapped in black tape and labeled “R2,” further implicating the trio in drug trafficking.The charges against Perez, Espinoza, and Samboy underscore the continuing battle against drug trafficking in the city. The case also highlights the increasingly creative ways in which traffickers seek to hide their operations, in this instance, behind the counter of a local pizzeria.
The investigation and subsequent bust serve as a stark reminder of the ongoing drug problem facing many American cities, even in seemingly innocuous settings such as a neighborhood pizzeria. The incident has shaken the local community, particularly given the pizzeria's proximity to a public elementary school.
As the case unfolds, authorities will continue their efforts to dismantle drug trafficking operations in the area, ensuring the safety and security of the city's residents. The charges against the three men are a significant step in the ongoing fight against the drug trade in the Bronx and across the city.