Suspected Mexican cartel leader smuggled 44 pounds of fentanyl into NYC, officials say

A suspected Mexican cartel drug kingpin was charged Tuesday in the seizure of 44 pounds of fentanyl from a sting operation late last year, officials said.

Francisco Quiroz-Zamora, 41, was arrested in November after he traveled to New York City to collect a payment from an undercover agent posing as a drug dealer, authorities said. Officials charged him in connection with the opioid seizure at a Bronx hotel and a posh Manhattan apartment.

Authorities used undercover agents to track Quiroz-Zamora’s shipments from Mexico to Arizona and Californian and New York, according to the New York Post.

He allegedly stashed a duffel bag filled with fentanyl above a vending machine at the Bronx hotel and five more pounds was being stored at a Central Park West apartment, according to the New York Daily News.

An investigation into Quiroz-Zamora’s alleged trafficking was conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the office of Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget Brennan and other agencies.

Quiroz-Zamora is believed to be a leader of Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel, according to the New York Post. He was reportedly working under the nickname “Gordo.”

“This investigation provides the American public with an inside view of a day in the life of a Sinaloa Cartel drug trafficker; including international travel, money pick-ups, and clandestine meetings,” DEA Special Agent James J. Hunt said.

Five of Quiroz-Zamora’s alleged accomplices were also charged in the smuggling ring.

Fatal overdoes of fentanyl reached an all-time high of more than 1,400 in New York City in 2017, officials said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Ryan Gaydos is an editor for Fox News. Follow him on Twitter @RyanGaydos.