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.