Bronx Man Charged as Major Drug Trafficker following Seizure of 110 Pounds of Cocaine in Virginia – Norwood News

The Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor of Manhattan Supreme Court have charged Bronxite, Jose Delacruz, 57, with operating as a major drug trafficker, following the seizure of approximately 110 pounds (50 kilos) of cocaine from a tractor-trailer truck, stopped in Virginia last year. The large load of cocaine was headed towards New York City and carried a street value of at least $1.25 million.
 
Delacruz was hit with charges of operating as a major trafficker, conspiracy in the second degree, and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the first and third degrees. The charges were announced by Bridget G. Brennan, New York City’s special narcotics prosecutor, Tim Foley, acting special agent in charge of the New York division of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Police Commissioner Keechant L. Sewell, and Ricky J. Patel, acting special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) New York, on Tuesday, March 1, when Delacruz appeared for arraignment before Manhattan Supreme Court justice, Steven Statsinger.
 
Delacruz’s arrest and arraignment follows an investigation conducted by the New York organized crime drug enforcement strike force, group Z-21, with assistance from the Rockbridge County Sheriff’s Office in Virginia.
 
According to the details of the case, between Sept. 27 and Sept. 30, 2021, a wiretap investigation revealed Delacruz allegedly engaged in a series of phone conversations in Spanish with Luis Delacruz, a relative, about receiving a bulk shipment of narcotics. The two used coded language as they allegedly arranged for Luis Delacruz to pick up the cocaine shipment and transport the narcotics cross-country to The Bronx.
 
During a call, described in court papers, which took place on Sept. 30, 2021, Jose Delacruz allegedly said, “Let’s see if we can pick up this weekend, and that way I can be over at the warehouse by Tuesday-Wednesday.” On Oct. 2, 2021, a Sunday, the investigation revealed that Luis Delacruz allegedly received a bulk shipment of the cocaine in Houston, Texas.
 
Four days later, on Oct. 6, 2021, Jose Delacruz allegedly received multiple calls from Luis. “Saturday, be on the alert as to where I can make a stop at one of those locations, and you can go in a cab and pick up the girl,” Luis allegedly said in a call referenced in court papers. In response, Jose Delacruz allegedly said, “Not a problem. Let’s do it that way,” while allegedly recognizing the referenced code word, “girl” to mean “cocaine.”
 
On the night of Oct. 6, 2021, agents and officers of strike force, group Z-21, determined that Luis was traveling through Virginia. The following morning, at approximately 3.26 a.m., members of the Rockbridge County Sheriff’s Office stopped him after he exited the cabin of a tractor-trailer at a truck stop located on Raphine Road, in Raphine. Inside the cabin of the tractor-trailer, officers found two duffle bags containing 110 pounds of cocaine. The truck was transporting boxes, food items, including snack chips and dips. Luis Delacruz was arrested and faces federal charges in Virginia.
 
 
Members of the strike force, group Z-21 conducted court-authorized searches of the apartment of Jose Delacruz, located on East 161st Street in the Melrose section of The Bronx, between Jan. 11 and Jan. 14 of this year. Agents and officers recovered approximately $24,600 in cash, a kilo press, used for shaping narcotics into bricks, and a money counter. A hidden trap compartment underneath the floor of the bathroom was empty, but had a strong odor of cocaine. Agents and officers arrested Jose Delacruz on Jan. 11. At his arraignment, the judge set bail at $300,000 cash or insurance company bail bond and $600,000 partially secured bond.
 
Brennan commended her office’s special investigations bureau, the New York division of the DEA, the NYPD, and HSI New York for their work on the investigation, in addition to Rockbridge County Sheriff’s Office.
 
According to  Brennan’s office, the strike force is a crime-fighting unit comprising federal, State and local law enforcement agencies, supported by the New York/New Jersey high intensity drug trafficking area. Housed at the DEA’s New York division, it includes agents and officers of the DEA; the NYPD; the New York State Police; Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) – HSI; the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) criminal investigation division; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP); U.S. Secret Service; the U.S. Marshals Service; New York National Guard; the Clarkstown Police Department; U.S. Coast Guard; Port Washington Police Department; and New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS).
 
In the context of the announcement, Brennan said, “This investigation prevented more than 100 pounds of cocaine from reaching our city, where lethal mixtures of narcotics are leading to record high numbers of overdose deaths.” She added, “This success demonstrates that collaboration among law enforcement agencies is a powerful tool against trafficking networks with nationwide resources and connections, and is critical to reining in this crisis.”
 
For his part, Foley said in part, “The DelaCruz cousins’ trafficking operation is one example of how illegal drugs are coming to New York.” He added, “Drug trends indicate that dealers are mixing cocaine with fentanyl, leading to users unknowingly, and some knowingly, using the synthetic drug which is causing a rise in overdoses. This significant seizure of cocaine and arrests of those responsible, prove that the New York Strike Force and Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor are dedicated to keeping New Yorkers safe.”
 
Sewell also commented, saying, “Today’s charges further affirm the NYPD’s unwavering commitment to ridding our city of illegal drugs. And this investigation – involving more than a dozen law enforcement agencies across multiple states – is a perfect example of how focused collaboration makes us all safer.”
 
She added, “The illegal drug trade wreaks havoc in our communities, and our job is to ensure that anyone who traffics in this poison be brought to justice swiftly and successfully. To that end, I thank and commend the Special Narcotics Prosecutor for the City of New York, the New York Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Strike Force, the DEA New York Division, Homeland Security Investigations New York, and all of our local, state, and federal law-enforcement colleagues for their close partnership on this critical case.”
 
Meanwhile, Patel said, “The less-than dynamic Delacruz duo allegedly thought that they could evade law enforcement by speaking in code to one another and attempting to conceal 50 kilograms of cocaine in a truck hauling snacks – but they were wrong.”
 
He added, “HSI and its partners on the organized crime drug enforcement strike force cracked the code, found the cocaine, and charged Jose Delacruz for his role in narcotics trafficking. HSI New York, working with our law enforcement and prosecutorial partners at the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor for the City of New York, will continue to tirelessly pursue narcotics traffickers, who demonstrate blatant disregard for the addiction and damage to lives they cause.”
 
A person arrested and charged with a crime is deemed innocent unless and until convicted in a court of law.
 
 
 
Welcome to the Norwood News, a bi-weekly community newspaper that primarily serves the northwest Bronx communities of Norwood, Bedford Park, Fordham and University Heights. Through our Breaking Bronx blog, we focus on news and information for those neighborhoods, but aim to cover as much Bronx-related news as possible. Founded in 1988 by Mosholu Preservation Corporation, a not-for-profit affiliate of Montefiore Medical Center, the Norwood News began as a monthly and grew to a bi-weekly in 1994. In September 2003 the paper expanded to cover University Heights and now covers all the neighborhoods of Community District 7. The Norwood News exists to foster communication among citizens and organizations and to be a tool for neighborhood development efforts. The Norwood News runs the Bronx Youth Journalism Heard, a journalism training program for Bronx high school students. As you navigate this website, please let us know if you discover any glitches or if you have any suggestions. We’d love to hear from you. You can send e-mails to norwoodnews@norwoodnews.org or call us anytime (718) 324-4998.

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