Police K-9 Balu of the Port Authority, helped catch suspected trafficker Cesar Chavez, 51, and two others in the Bronx who had $125,000 in cash and a significant volume of cocaine worth around $600,000, authorities reported on Wednesday by region, state, and federal agencies. More than 24 pounds of cocaine stashed behind the bathroom mirror in a suspected drug trafficker’s Bronx flat was sniffed out by a sharp-nosed police pooch.
Cesar Chavez was from Manhattan, is the suspected mastermind trafficker who, as per the police, operated to procure heavy amounts of cocaine in a pandemic-induced coronavirus shortage. His nephew namely Cristian Rodriguez Chavez who is 32, and Roberto Javier-Batista who is 38, both from the Bronx, were busted in the sting, a joint operation by the NYPD, state officers, officers from the Port Authority, and the Office of Law Compliance.
In a bag, stacks of cash and half a kilogram of cocaine under a chair in 1500 Popham Ave. building suspected to belong to Cesar Chavez is what the police. Balu directed the agents to the toilet, where much of the cocaine was contained in a hidden compartment behind the mirror and medicine shelf, while Port Authority police helped search the house.
The investigation and seizure occurred on September 3rd, as per officials, state police and DEA agents found Cesar Chavez holding a brick-shaped box covered in plastic with Javier-Batista as they approached Chavez’s supposed Morris Heights flat. Then, with Chavez behind the wheel, the pair climbed into a sedan. Javier-Batista reportedly escaped in the car bearing the package when state police tried to stop the driver.
The State Police again witnessed Chavez leaving the apartment later that evening, this time trying to board a car driven by Rodriguez Chavez. Soon after taking the back seat, Javier-Batista was captured holding what seemed to be the same brick-shaped box as previously in the day. They reportedly found Javier-Batista attempting to hide the package under the driving seat when the cops stopped the vehicle. The box, which was later found to be 2.2 pounds of cocaine, was seized by authorities.
Then the Authorities used Chavez’s keys to explore their home, whereas he waited in the back of a state police car, they found the stash. Cops in the car spotted a security alert flashed on his mobile phone as the agents approached their home, prosecutors said. In the toilet, the bags of cocaine 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. “After evading police, the defendants immediately returned to the scene of the crime, where agents and investigators were waiting,” she added. “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.”
In the first and third degrees, Cesar Chavez was charged with working as a drug trafficker and illegal possession of a controlled substance. Both Rodriguez Chaves and Javier-Batista were respectively charged with first and third-degree illegal possession of a controlled drug.
“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 a statement. “I applaud our law enforcement partners on their diligent work and their efforts in safeguarding our nation from the perils of drug use and abuse.”