The Horace Man School has been a fixture in the Riverdale section of the Bronx celebrating its one-hundred-twenty-fifth anniversary in 2012. In addition to Mann there are several schools in that area and thousands of children of school-age in attendance.
Fieldston Terrace is a peaceful street just a little north from The Horace Mann School. It was there that DEA agents were able to uncover close to 70 pounds of cocaine. The drug was carefully packaged in cellophane and found hidden in a closet in the bedroom of an apartment within the building that is located just west of Broadway, neighboring Van Cortlandt Park to the east. The Major Deegan Expressway goes directly through the park. The DEA has recently noted a trend where “stash houses” that hold large amounts of drugs have been found to be located neighboring major state interstate highways and thruways.
The stash was found this past September 26, which led to the immediate arrest of Juan Rojas, 30, who shared the apartment with his girlfriend Ana.
In addition to the cocaine that has been valued at over $1.5 million, two loaded firearms, scales, a money counter, drug ledgers as well as over $1.6 million in cash were seized by the DEA agents who made the bust.
A portion of the packages of cocaine were soaped in a type of grease, and a five-gallon container of that substance was also found in close proximity to the stockpile of drugs. According to DEA sources, drug traffickers brush cocaine with this type of grease to disguise the scent from drug-sniffing dogs that are trained to track illegal substances. The container’s incidence in the bedroom led law enforcement officials to believe that the apartment was used as a “stash house” which held the drugs before they were staged and transported, according to DEA Agent spokeswoman Erin Mulvey. “It was going to be used to mask the smell in transportation somewhere,” she stated referring to the confiscated tub of grease. Based on calculations, law enforcement believes that Rojas was trafficking in the area of 110 pounds of cocaine on a monthly basis. The apartment was targeted by DEA agents as a suspected drug trafficking locality as part of an ongoing investigation
The apartment was neither listed in the name of Rojas or his girlfriend. Records revealed that it was listed under the name of a Ms. Then.
Rojas, 30, now faces charges of first-and-third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance; one third-degree count of criminal possession of a weapon as well as two counts of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon. In the statement that was released by the DEA it wasn’t specified if the suspect caused any commotion when he was arrested as the raid took place. His girlfriend Ana, who was present at the apartment when the bust went down, was taken into custody and later pleaded guilty to criminal facilitation which is a misdemeanor.
Rojas was indicted last week after being held without bail since his arrest. His attorney stated that his client has no prior records of arrest and pointed out that the apartment belonged to another person. “It was another individual’s apartment and he’s going to vigorously fight the case,” commented his attorney in a phone interview with the Riverdale Press. The lawyer went on to say that his client planned to plead not guilty at his arraignment which is scheduled for next week.
Neighbors that were interviewed by the same publication that conducted the telephone interview reported that they seemed surprised by news of the goings on in the apartment.