Suspected drug trafficker caught rolling suitcases through the Bronx containing enough fentanyl to kill 6.5 million New Yorkers: 40 pounds seized from den just six blocks from daycare where toddler died of exposure
- Juan Gabriel Herrera Vargas, 42, was caught carrying fentanyl on the subway
- Authorities seized more than 40 pounds of fentanyl from him in the Bronx
- His drug den is six blocks from the daycare where a child died from fentanyl
A suspected drug trafficker has been arrested after allegedly wheeling a suitcase through the Bronx filled with 40 pounds of fentanyl — enough to wipe out six million people.
Juan Gabriel Herrera Vargas, 42, was caught with the drugs just six blocks from the daycare where a one-year-old child died from fentanyl exposure earlier this month.
Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents followed Herrera Vargas as he took the subway on Tuesday. Officers first approached him at 6.15pm but he quickly ran away, leaving behind a rolling suitcase.
Officers found 13 rectangular kilostones containing suspected fentanyl in the black-brown bag. That alone is enough fentanyl to kill three-quarters of the city’s population, about 6.5 million New Yorkers.
Juan Gabriel Herrera Vargas, 42, pictured in court Thursday, just days after he was caught rolling suitcases full of fentanyl in the Bronx
Herrera Vargas was arrested with the blue suitcase with a red stripe in the middle containing 50,000 glasses, packed together in 25 larger packages
Authorities seized more than 40 pounds of fentanyl, which is enough fentanyl to kill 6.5 million New Yorkers
They continued to follow Herrera and at about 8:40 p.m., they found him leaving his apartment building carrying a blue suitcase with a red stripe down the middle.
Authorities arrested the man and seized approximately 50,000 glasses packed into 25 larger packages from the suitcase.
DEA Special Agent in Charge Frank Tarentino said, “The public outcry following the poisoning death of a toddler was not enough to prevent a drug factory from operating just six blocks away from that daycare center.”
“Herrera Vargas took it a step further and drove more than 40 pounds of fentanyl through the city and into the subway without regard for public safety.”
Agents searched his apartment and discovered one kilogram of suspected fentanyl, six pounds of loose powder, 10,000 filled glassine mines, and materials used for packaging glassine mines, such as grinders, scales, glassine mines, stamps, and rubber bands.
The fentanyl and packaging materials were found in the back bedroom, along with a glass table on which the drugs were packaged.
In the second bedroom, authorities discovered paraphernalia along with a large television connected to a security camera to monitor the apartment.
The windows of the apartment were taped over with large black plastic garbage bags to ensure nothing was visible from the outside.
“Another large stash of fentanyl has been found in the Bronx. Our community has been a hub for fentanyl distribution for years and has suffered so many deaths,” said Bronx District Attorney Darcel D. Clark.
Herrera Vargas was caught just six blocks from the daycare where a one-year-old child died from fentanyl exposure earlier in September
During a search of his apartment, authorities discovered one kilogram of suspected fentanyl, six pounds of loose powder, 10,000 filled glassine and packaging materials.
The drugs and packaging materials were found in the back room, along with a glass table set up for packaging
The DEA estimates that the more than 40 pounds of suspected fentanyl seized has a street value of $1.5 million.
On September 15, one-year-old Nicholas Féliz died of fentanyl exposure at a Bronx daycare.
Three other children, including two siblings aged eight months and two years, were hospitalized.
Four people have been charged in connection with Féliz’s death, including the daycare owner and her husband.
Facts from the New York City Department on Health found that the Bronx had the highest rate of overdose deaths in 2021, at 70.6 deaths per 100,000 residents.