A routine patrol ended in a massive drug bust last week when two officers from the 108th Precinct stumbled across more than 100 pounds of marijuana in a Woodside storefront, police said.
Police Officer Michael Vetere and his partner David Rosiak were responding at 9:30 p.m. Aug. 7 to a report of an open door at 69-07 50th Ave. suggesting a possible burglary in progress when they arrived to find the door shut and a man scrambling about inside.
Only after the officers repeated requests did the man, 32-year-old Alfredo Escalera of Corona, finally open the door to the offices of Q+ Contracting.
Me and my partner, we smelled it and we looked at each other, Vetere said.
Sitting at Escaleras feet they saw two duffel bags brimming with so much marijuana that the zippers could not even be closed, Vetere said. The seizure ultimately came to 36 pounds, police said.
Escalera, of 108-53 53rd Ave., did not have any identification justifying his presence in the office, Vetere said.
He was arrested and charged with criminal possession of marijuana at his arraignment before Queens Criminal Court Judge Lenora Gerald, who set bail at $10,000, a spokeswoman for Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said.
Escalera later admitted that he was paid to sit at that location, according to the complaint filed by the Queens DAs office.
When officers returned the next day with a search warrant, they discovered an enormous metal box filled with 70 pounds of marijuana, nearly tripling the size of their initial find.
Id never seen anything like it, said Vetere, a four-year veteran of the force.
Cops also recovered a vacuum sealer, scale and water pipe along with thousands of Ziploc bags, which were used to package, store and sell the drugs, authorities said.
The marijuana, which was separated into stocks of seeds, stems and buds, filled a large table last Thursday night at the 108th Precinct station house, where cops were cataloguing their seizure.
Most of the pot was either packaged in large vacuum-sealed bags for distribution to dealers, or prepared for street sale in tiny packets that would be sold to dealers in bundles, police said.
The seizure also included a cellophane cube filled with marijuana that could be easily scooped out and bagged for sale through a slit on the top of the box, cops said.
Reach reporter Dustin Brown by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 154.
©2002 Community News Group
By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:
You agree that you, and not TimesLedger.com or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to TimesLedger.com the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.