Six suspected drug dealers who are accused of running a $7 million fentanyl distribution operation out of a Bronx apartment were released without bail under the state’s new criminal justice law early Wednesday.
The suspects — Livo Valdez, Jaslin Baldera, Frederick Baldera, Frandi Ledema, Diego Tejada and Parfraimy Antonio — were arrested Monday when officers with the New York Drug Enforcement Task Force raided an apartment on Sedgwick Avenue in Kingsbridge that was allegedly used as a heroin and fentanyl packaging mill.
They were each charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance and criminally using drug paraphernalia.
When officers on the task force entered the apartment, they saw the six suspects bundling powder-filled glassine envelopes stamped with the word “fire,” the Special Narcotics Prosecutor said in a press release.
Hundreds of thousands of the envelopes packed with the powder were spread across two tables and overflowing from boxes in the apartment, authorities said.
The drugs, which have a street value of about $7 million, were believed to be headed onto the streets of New York and New England, the prosecutor’s office said. Lab results of the drugs were pending Wednesday morning.
Despite the volume of the drugs seized, all six of the suspects were cut loose at their arraignments in Manhattan Criminal Court on Wednesday morning.
“None of the defendants are eligible for bail,” Assistant District Attorney Michael Di Paolo said in the court hearing.
The judge ordered them to turn over their passports, as a number of them have connections to the Dominican Republic. They’re all due back in court Feb. 27.
Their lawyers argued none of the defendants have criminal records and noted family members of the suspects turned up for their arraignments.
Supporters in court early Wednesday morning waved their hands in celebration as the six suspects walked out.