U.S. seizes more than one ton of cocaine in biggest NY-area bust in a decade

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NEW YORK, Nov 2 (Reuters) - U.S. instrumentality enforcement officials seized much than 1 ton of cocaine allegedly shipped to the New York country from Puerto Rico, the largest bust of the cause successful the portion successful implicit a decade, authorities said connected Tuesday.

The bust comes arsenic authorities grapple with a 150% summation successful cocaine seizures implicit the past twelvemonth successful the area, said Ray Donovan, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's peculiar cause successful complaint for the New York division.

Cocaine availability nationwide successful 2019 dropped 14% from the anterior twelvemonth and deed its lowest level successful six years, and proviso remained mostly dependable passim 2020, according to a March 2021 DEA report.

"This seizure signifies a displacement successful the amerciable cause scenery successful New York," Donovan said successful a statement.

The 920 kilograms (2,028 pounds) of cocaine seized could person a thoroughfare worth of betwixt $37 cardinal and $370 million, depending connected the retail level, according to a idiosyncratic acquainted with the case.

In an indictment filed connected Monday, national prosecutors accused 3 men - Jorge Aponte-Guzman, Nelson Agramonte-Minaya and Carlos Maisonet-Lopez - of cause trafficking conspiracy successful narration to the seized drugs.

Officials recovered the cocaine packaged wrong ample metallic tract rollers successful a rental van that Aponte-Guzman drove from a New Jersey loading dock to a residence, prosecutors said. Shipping records showed the rollers were sent from Puerto Rico to an code successful the Bronx, they added.

Defense attorneys for Aponte-Guzman and Maisonet-Lopez did not instantly respond to requests for comment. An lawyer for Agramonte-Minaya declined to comment.

Damian Williams, the caller U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York sworn successful past month, referred to the magnitude of cocaine seized arsenic a "massive quantity of unsafe drugs."

Reporting by Luc Cohen; Editing by Mark Porter

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