Authorities in New York City say a drug smuggling operation that used two Bronx day centers to mask seedy dealings has been shut down after the leader was arrested.
Juan Valdez, 45, was arrested yesterday morning thanks to the collaborative work of the NYPD and DEA. Valdez reportedly orchestrated the smuggling of between five and 10 kilos of cocaine into the city on a monthly basis, and authorities estimate each kilo was valued at $60,000. Valdez ensured that briefcases of cash were sent to San Juan, Puerto Rico, where his associates would ship packages of cocaine to Fun World Childcare and Sweet Home day care in the Bronx.
Last December, a kilo wrapped in SpongeBob Squarepants bedding was discovered by postal inspectors en route to Sweet Home. In September, authorities seized a kilo of coke, $150,000 grams of crack, over 1,000 oxycodone pills, $180,000 in cash and a loaded handgun from Fun World Childcare, and authorities say those arrested were affiliated with Valdez.
In total, the investigation has yielded seizures of about $700,000 worth of drugs and other illicit materials since August.
Also arrested with Valdez were Ada Padilla, 50, and Juan Bernal, 62. Special Prosecutor Bridget Brennan noted that "Even after highly publicized arrests in September, the narcotics trafficking continued unabated." It's all over now.