NEW YORK — Several slabs of fish weren't enough to keep New York City detectives from finding several kilos of the deadly drug fentanyl.
Officers tailed Johnny De Los Santos-Martinez, 35, to Leland Avenue and Archer Street in the Parkchester section of the Bronx Feb. 1. That’s where they noticed two boxes in the back seat of the 2017 white Acura MDX he was sitting in, police say.
Inside the boxes, investigators found two coolers containing fish that was sliced up — and wrapped around kilos of the dangerous opioid. Police said the brick-shaped packages containing fentanyl were sealed tight with green plastic.
There were four kilos in the containers; three of them were covered with the fish.
Another kilo was hidden in a vacuum-sealed package of what appeared to be chili.
Detectives from the NYPD’s Queens Narcotics Major Case Squad spearheaded the investigation.
Fentanyl — an opioid 50 times more powerful than heroin that is lab-produced in China and Mexico — is often mixed with heroin doses and is driving the skyrocketing U.S. death rates tied to drugs.
The drug is cheap, so many dealers are even pressing it into fake Oxycodone pills on the black market.
Among the celebrity deaths attributed to fentanyl in the last two years are rockers Prince and Tom Petty.
The Office of Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget Brennan said the four kilos seized in the Bronx could have yielded more than a million lethal doses of fentanyl/heroin and is worth up to $10 million on the street.
Santos-Martinez, the suspected distributor in this case, was arraigned in Manhattan Criminal Court on last Friday. His bail was set at $150,000 cash or $250,000 bond.