A pair of Mexican drug cartel smugglers were arrested in New York with $1.2 million in methamphetamine and were allowed to walk, thanks to New York’s weak-on-crime bail laws.
Luis Estrada and Carlos Santos were both caught after a US Drug Enforcement Administration operation, but were later put on sueprvised released because they could only be charged with second-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. Those changes were made during the 2019 bail reform measures that weakened New York’s ability to prosecute hardened criminals.
“This is a serious problem,” said New York City Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget Brennan, reports the New York Post.
“The failure to include methamphetamine crimes among bail-eligible offenses was probably an oversight. “At the time the bail laws were changed, New York City was not a distribution hub for methamphetamine. Now it is, and we are unable to even ask for bail, even if we arrest someone with no ties to the city and a load worth millions of dollars,” Brennan continued.
“I hope that when legislators are better informed they will make a change,” she said.
Estrada and Santos, 19 and 34 respectively, were caught with nearly 200 lbs on meth. Estrada was arrested in Manhattan on July 5, and Santos was arrested with 100 lbs of meth and some cocaine.
“Under current New York State law, neither man could be charged with a bail eligible offense,” a statement from Brenna’s office, the DEA, and Nassau County District Attorney’s Office says.
“Methamphetamine is categorized as a controlled substance, but not a narcotic drug. Regardless of the amount of methamphetamine involved, and regardless of a defendant’s lack of connections to New York State, under current law judges may not set bail on cases involving the possession of only methamphetamine.”
“This year, DEA has seen methamphetamine seizures in New York increase 1300 percent since 2021, indicating New York is a bullseye for traffickers. This seizure is calculated treachery by Mexican cartels to flood the United States with their poison and expand their customer base while driving addiction and increasing profit margins,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Frank Tarentino. “Methamphetamine is running rampant throughout the country, causing addiction, overdoses and poisonings,” he said.