Federal and local authorities in New York City busted a massive stash of hard drugs and cash in an apartment on the Upper West Side — some of which carried the distinctive logo of one infamous ride-sharing company.
According to law enforcement, the August 4 bust secured an enormous amount of heroin and fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that is insanely potent and fatal in comparatively small doses. The dealers had allegedly been using stamps with popular brands — Uber, McDonalds, and many others — to mark their drugs. While the scandal-prone ride-sharing company had no apparent connection to the crime beyond this unauthorized branding, it’s certainly a measure of Travis Kalanick’s impressive brand recognition and reach that his company now has drugs named after it.
“Fentanyl is the deadliest street drug to ever hit this country. This seizure alone contains enough potency to kill half of the population of New York City, if laboratory analysis proves it is all fentanyl,” DEA Special Agent in Charge James J. Hunt said in a statement. “Fentanyl is manufactured death that drug dealers are mixing with heroin.”
On August 4th, DEA Strike Force, Financial Investigations Team, and Special Narcotics Prosecutor Investigators Unit officers say they saw David Rodriguez leaving an apartment on Central Park West carrying a white shopping bag. The authorities say he then got in a car driven by Richard Rodriguez, who the DEA identified as an Uber driver, and headed uptown where he was eventually stopped. After the arrest, the feds found what they identified as “six large cylindrical packages wrapped in tape and plastic wrap in addition to the plastic bag of tan powder” and “one large cylindrical package wrapped in tape and plastic wrap and one clear plastic bag containing a tan powdery substance” in Rodriguez’s two boxes.
Shortly after, the cops obtained a search warrant and searched Rodriguez’s apartment, where they say they found even more (h/t to Gothamist for compiling it all](http://gothamist.com/2017/08/08/uber_branded_fentanyl_bust.php)\):
Two large ziplock bags containing approximately three kilograms of a suspected fentanyl and heroin combination from inside a hall closet, as well as 1,100 individual dose glassine envelopes that had been filled with powder and stamped with the brand name ‘UBER’
A loaded .25 caliber Beretta pistol wedged between two couch cushions
$30,000 in cash, several identification cards for other individuals, multiple cellphones and ledgers
Supplies and paraphernalia consistent with a heroin/fentanyl packaging mill were seized including: stamps, rubber bands, folding tables, boxes of ziplock bags, a heat sealing device, gloves, masks, and empty glassines branded ‘Panda,’ ‘Black Friday’ and ‘Wild Card.’
According to the DEA, the drugs have an estimated street value of at least $3 million, but that depends on the potency of the fentanyl/ heroin combination. Strangely enough, it’s not the first time drug dealers have used a company in the zeitgeist to brand their drugs. In September of last year, European officials started finding incredibly potent MDMA pills branded with the Tesla logo. Elon Musk’s electric car company never weighed in on that bust, but the “ludicrous speed” jokes probably didn’t go unappreciated.Photos via DEA