Federal and local authorities announced that they discovered 86 pounds (39 kilograms) of heroin—worth $20 million—in a Richmond Hill apartment on Wednesday. The ground floor apartment, at 86-34 122nd Street, was apparently a heroin distribution center. According to the Special Narcotics Prosecutor's Office, "Eight packages of pressed heroin weighing more than 2 ½ pounds each were found lying on the floor of the studio apartment, while another 11 packages were recovered from inside a duffel bag. A makeshift assembly line had been set up on a table, complete with kilo presses and multiple buckets containing grinders, sifters and other paraphernalia. Another 10 kilograms of loose heroin were on the table with the buckets. Brown sugar used as a cutting agent was also recovered from the apartment."

Jose Santiago Diaz, an illegal alien, was arrested on counts including criminal drug possession. Apparently the authorities had suspected the apartment was a drug location for weeks and were surveilling the location when, on Tuesday, they noticed "an individual wearing latex gloves that are typical of those worn by heroin mill workers exit the front door of the building and then return inside. Moments later the agents saw an individual wearing latex gloves open a window in the ground floor apartment. Agents and detectives approached the building and noticed a strong odor of heroin emanating from a window and an air conditioner." Latex gloves and the smell of heroin—always a dead giveaway!


Later that night, Diaz left the apartment and DEA agents questioned him. He made inconsistent statements, also smelled of heroin and also had keys to the apartment, so the DEA contact the Port Authority Police's K-9 team to help. A K-9 dog signaled that there were drugs at the apartment, so the authorities swooped in (after waiting for a search warrant!). Special Prosecutor Bridget Brennan said, "I commend the excellent work by agents and detectives in this case. We seized a very large quantity of heroin high in the distribution chain. This would have ended up as millions of user-ready packets on the streets of our city."