Seven individuals were due in court Thursday for arraignment on an indictment for their roles in a fentanyl packaging operation in the Bronx that cops took down last month.
One of the indicted perpetrators was also charged for throwing a package of the highly addictive and poisonous powder at officers during the raid, sickening two of them.
According to the Office of the city’s Special Narcotics Prosecutor, members of the New York Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Strike Force conducted the raid on Nov. 7 at the apartment on Willis Avenue near East 140th Street in Mott Haven.
Six individuals were in the living room when the agents walked in, including Brooklyn’s Christian Rojas, 44. Before the Strike Force members could secure the room, Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget Brennan reported, Rojas allegedly threw a package of fentanyl at one of the officer’s heads, striking him and causing the powder to become airborne.
The smacked officer, along with a second agent standing right behind him, soon began suffering symptoms of fentanyl exposure — including nausea and shortness of breath. Emergency responders administered treatment, Brennan said, and the second officer momentarily lost consciousness while being rushed to a nearby hospital.
Nonetheless, the raid continued, and officers recovered nearly 20,000 glassine envelopes containing individual doses of fentanyl. Loose quantities of the drug were also scattered throughout the premises.
Rojas along with five others in the living room at the time — the Bronx’s Jose Gonzalez, 49, Mario Guerrero, 40, and Francisco Payano, 35; Brooklyn’s Freddy Rojas, 47, of Brooklyn; and Newark’s Nassar Lacewell, 36 — were arrested along with Bronx resident Margaret Payano, 46, who was found inside a bedroom.
They were each indicted on charges of criminal possession of a controlled substance and criminally using drug paraphernalia. Christian Rojas was additionally indicted on counts of attempted aggravated assault upon a police officer, assault and reckless endangerment.