Port Authority K9 alerts to secret stash behind wall

NEW YORK — A sharp-nosed police service dog sniffed out more than 24 pounds of cocaine that was stashed behind a bathroom vanity in the Bronx apartment of an alleged drug trafficker.

The fantastic alert came from Port Authority Police K9 Balu. He helped bust alleged trafficker, Cesar Chavez, 51, and two others in The Bronx who possessed $125,000 in cash and the large quantity of cocaine worth about $600,000, authorities announced Wednesday, New York Post reported.

Cesar Chavez, of Manhattan, is the alleged mastermind trafficker who labored to secure hefty quantities of cocaine during a coronavirus pandemic-induced shortage, according to authorities.

Authorities seize more than 25 pounds of cocaine.(U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration)

His nephew Cristian Rodriguez Chavez, 32, and Roberto Javier-Batista, 38, both of the Bronx, were also busted in the sting — a coordinated effort among the NYPD, state police, Port Authority police and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Port Authority
Port Authority Police Department K-9 Balu and the seized stash. (PANYNJ; U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration)

The packages of cocaine in the bathroom were labeled with a “Chinese dragon stamp,” prosecutors said.

“The conduct charged in this case is brazen. The defendants’ alleged cocaine business flourished as the Bronx and the rest of New York City struggled with devastation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” New York City Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget G. Brennan said in a statement.

Authorities seize more than 25 pounds of cocaine.
Authorities seize more than 25 pounds of cocaine. (U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration)

“The recovery of $125,000 in cash and cocaine worth more than a half-million dollars from an apartment in Morris Heights will put a dent in their high-level trafficking operation,” Brennan added.

Cesar Chavez was charged with operating as a major trafficker and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the first and third degrees, according to the Post.

Both Rodriguez Chavez and Javier-Batista were also charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance in the first and third degrees.

“As traffickers navigate COVID-impacted drug markets, their drug stashes are more valuable and their concealment methods more necessary, as evident in this investigation,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Ray Donovan in a statement.


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