Illegal Bronx drug mill stamped product with brand name ‘Coronavirus,’ say prosecutors

A groupd of Bronx heroin and fentanyl dealers advertised their product as “Coronavirus,”
A groupd of Bronx heroin and fentanyl dealers advertised their product as “Coronavirus,”(Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget Brennan's Cffice)

Even dope pushers think about marketing — and if coronavirus means death, you can’t accuse this gang of false advertising.

A band of Bronx-based heroin and fentanyl dealers advertised some of their products as “Coronavirus” as they pumped $1 million worth of illicit drugs onto the street, authorities said Friday.

Operators of the drug packing mill on Loring Place North near W. Fordham Rd. in University Heights displayed their sales savvy on other of the 120,000 glassine envelopes of drugs seized by a DEA task force on Thursday night.

Those envelopes carried the drug stamps “Hiroshima,” “Isis,” “Antrax,” “95” and “24 Black Mamba” — an apparent reference to late basketball legend Kobe Bryant.

“Traffickers market their drugs like businesses, branding their product with stamps to attract users,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Ray Donovan.

City Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget G. Brennan, whose office is handling the case, said the Coronavirus stamp showed the suspects were "trying to capitalize of the pandemic’s lethal reputation.”

Cops and federal agents busted six suspects, including Dariel Fermin, 31, who’s charged as a major trafficker.

Authorities believe the drugs were meant for buyers in New York City and New Jersey. Drugs branded “Coronavirus” and “24 Black Mamba” have been linked to fatal overdoses in New Jersey, though investigators haven’t linked those deaths to the busted Bronx operation.

The DEA task force was running surveillance on the Bronx apartment building where the dealers operated Thursday night, and saw one man, Manuel Morillo, 54, come out with a heavy brown bag, which he loaded into a livery cab waiting outside, prosecutors allege.

When agents stopped the cab near the George Washington Bridge, they found 80,000 glassine envelopes in the bag, and arrested Morillo and the driver, Frank Marte Urena, 30, prosecutors said.

Back in the Bronx, the task force kept watching the apartment, and spotted another suspect, Yamilka Fermin, 34, leave with a bag stuffed with another 40,000 glassine envelopes, prosecutors said.

Bundles seized
Bundles seized(Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget Brennan's Office)

When the task force raided the apartment, they found $25,000 and a trove of packing equipment and stamp pads used to brand the drugs, prosecutors said.

All six suspects await arraignment in Manhattan criminal court.

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