Agents seize $1M worth of heroin and fentanyl with ‘coronavirus’ stamp

Here’s another way for coronavirus to get you sick.

A group of alleged drug dealers in the Bronx were caught peddling single-dose heroin and fentanyl packets that were stamped with the name of the virus that is ravaging the city.

Authorities raided the group’s narcotics and packaging mill Thursday and seized $1 million worth of the drugs, some of which had the word “coronavirus” emblazoned on the packages next to a bio-hazard symbol.  The gang also had packages named “24 Black Mamba” after the late basketball star, Kobe Bryant.

“As New York City and the metropolitan area lose thousands of loved ones to coronavirus, six people in the Bronx are charged with mixing and distributing more than a hundred thousand packets of fentanyl and heroin stamped with the name of the deadly virus, trying to capitalize off the pandemic’s lethal reputation,” said the city’s Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget G. Brennan.

Coronavirus-stamped heroin and fentanyl seized in the BronxDEA

The arrests were the result of a long-term investigation by the New York Drug Enforcement Task Force and the city’s Special Narcotics Prosecutor.

On May 7, agents and investigators spotted Manuel Morillo exit 2333 Loring Place North and place a heavy brown bag in a livery car driven by Frank Marte Urena, officials said. The car was stopped near the George Washington Bridge and agents seized 80,000 glassines of suspected heroin and fentanyl,  authorities said.

Coronavirus-stamped heroin and fentanyl seized in the BronxPackaging mill produced over $1 million worth of individual dose envelopes stamped “Coronavirus,” “24 Black Mamba,” “Hiroshima,” “Isis,” “Antrax” and “95.”

Later the same night, agents observed Yamilka Fermin exit the same apartment with a heavy black bag and stopped her. The sack contained 40,000 glassiness and several zip lock bags of loose powder suspected to be heroin and fentanyl, according to a statement from Brennan’s office. Soon after, the alleged head of the drug distribution network, Dariel Fermin, left the apartment and was later arrested.

Authorities obtained a search warrant for the Bronx drug den and seized $25,000 in cash from two bedrooms as well as drug packaging equipment, including strainers, grinders, stamps and ink pads.

Black Mamba-stamped packages of drugsBlack Mamba-stamped packages of drugs

In addition to the “Coronavirus” and “24 Black Mamba” packages, some of the drugs were marked “Hiroshima” and “Isis,” the statement said. It wasn’t clear if there was any difference between the drugs.

Dariel Fermin was charged with operating as a major drug trafficker, criminal possession of a controlled substance and criminally using drug paraphernalia. Morillo, Urena, Yamilka Fermin and two additional co-defendants – Ana Lora Diaz and Cindy Cortoreal – face lesser charges of criminally using drug paraphernalia and criminal possession of a controlled substance.

The defendants are expected to be arraigned this evening in Manhattan Criminal Court.


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