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Ridgewood Man Busted After Feds Find 13 Pounds of Cocaine in His Car

Federal agents recovered several packages of cocaine–each with a photo of President Joseph Biden on the front cover– during a search of a Ridgewood man’s car. (Photo courtesy of Special Narcotics Prosecutor)

Dec. 15, 2022 By Christian Murray

A Ridgewood man has been indicted for possessing 13 pounds of cocaine after being busted by federal agents who were conducting a citywide drug trafficking investigation.

Reynaldo Almonte, 29, of George Street, was indicted in Manhattan Supreme Court earlier this month on charges of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the first and third degrees, authorities announced Wednesday.

Investigators nabbed Almonte after conducting surveillance on Nov. 28 near the intersection of Seneca Avenue and George Street. They saw him getting into a vehicle at around 6:20 p.m. with what appeared to be a weighted shopping bag—and then drive off. The vehicle, a burgundy Nissan, was registered to Almonte.

Authorities followed Almonte who drove to East 178th Street in the Bronx, where he double parked.

Federal agents approached the car, where they allegedly found Almonte in the driver’s seat with a bag on the floor in the front passenger area that contained more than $50,000 cash.

His vehicle was taken by the investigators with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration New York Division at around 9:15 p.m. and searched. Authorities, with the assistance of a K-9 unit, found 13 pounds (6 kilograms)—with a street value of around $300,000—in a hidden trap compartment in the rear passenger cabin. Within the compartment, there were six kilogram-sized packages wrapped in plastic, each bearing a photo of President Joe Biden on them. Investigators also recovered $7,000 in cash.

Authorities believe the bust will help save lives.

“Cocaine continues to be significant factor in overdose deaths in New York City,” said Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget G. Brennan in a statement. “Cocaine has always posed significant health risks, but it is now commonly mixed with fentanyl, methamphetamine, and other deadly substances, increasing risks to users. Taking 13 pounds of cocaine off our streets will save precious lives.”

Almonte was released on a $300,000 partially secured bond. The terms of the bail required that 10 percent of the total bail bond amount be posted.

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