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'NFL' heroin busted in the Bronx

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The DEA, the NYPD and state police seized $8 million worth of heroin from what they said was a "fully operational heroin mill" in a Bronx apartment. Some of the heroin was found in the apartment's oven.

Just days before the NFL’s best teams face off in the Super Bowl in New Jersey, local and federal authorities discovered a multi-million-dollar heroin mill across the river in New York City that was stamping its dope with the brand name “NFL.”


On Thursday, DEA agents, NYPD officers and state police say they saw a man in the Williamsbridge neighborhood of the Bronx carrying black shopping bags away from a suspected drug location and into an apartment building. When the suspect, Cristino Then, came out of the building empty handed, officers began to question him. At that moment they saw a second man climbing out the window of a fifth-floor apartment and onto the fire escape.

Entering the apartment via the fire escape, officers allegedly found “a fully operational heroin mill,” including baking soda, grinders, scales and approximately 13 kilos of heroin, with a street value of up to $9 million. They also found a bag full of stamps for branding individual packets of heroin with product names. Among the stamps were “government shutdown,” “Lady Gaga,” “Olympic 2012” and “NFL.”

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Authorities arrested two men in connection with the heroin. One of the suspects exited the building from a fifth-floor window onto a fire escape.

“Thanks to the efforts of the investigators in this case,” said New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, “an operation that would have led to the sale and distribution of illegal drugs on the streets of New York City has been thwarted.”

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Some of the heroin bundles were stamped with the brand name "NFL."

Defendants Augustin Rivera, 35, and Cristino Then, 25, are both charged with two counts of criminal possession and one count of criminal use of drug paraphernalia and are scheduled to be arraigned in Manhattan Friday.

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The heroin mill included a number of stamps used on the individual bundles offered for sale, including "Lady Gaga," "government shutdown" and "NFL."

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