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December 19, 2015

           Two men were arrested and nearly $3 million worth of cocaine was seized in New York City in what is being described as the biggest bust involving the drug in recent years, law enforcement authorities said on Saturday. The investigation involved the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's New York Division, the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor and the U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service.

           Mark Soto and Xavier Herbert-Gumbs, face felony drug possession charges after authorities said they found a total of 136 pounds of cocaine in their vehicles in the Bronx, according to a statement by the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor in New York.

"This is the largest cocaine seizure that our office has made in recent years," said Kati Cornell, spokeswoman for the prosecutor. "Recently, we've seen a lot more large seizures of heroin, so this case is certainly unusual."

           According to the prosecutor's statement, the men had transported the drugs from Massachusetts as part of a "major narcotics trafficking network" identified in an investigation by local law enforcement and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

           The men are charged with four counts each of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the first and third degrees. Bail was set for each defendant at $400,000. On Thursday, police pulled over a vehicle in which Herbert-Gumbs, of Rio Grande, Puerto Rico, was the passenger and found 110 pounds of cocaine pressed into bricks bearing brand names, the statement said.

           A short time later, officers found Soto, of San Juan, Puerto Rico, exiting a vehicle at an intersection, but were able to detain him and search the vehicle's trunk, which was holding another 26 pounds of cocaine, the statement said.


Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor