Thruway drug bust leads to second arrest
ROTTERDAM A second man has been arrested in connection with the 13 pounds of cocaine seized on the state Thruway earlier this month in Rotterdam, and authorities say he was the one the drugs were to be delivered to.
Jose Gonzalez, 25, of Rochester, appeared in U.S. District Court in Albany this week on a charge of conspiracy to possess cocaine with intent to distribute.
He is accused of hiring Carlos J. Morales to drive from Rochester to New York City to purchase the cocaine, according to papers filed in court.
Morales, age unavailable, a Rochester resident, was arrested Feb. 2 after a traffic stop in Rotterdam. According to papers filed in his case, he committed multiple traffic infractions. After he was pulled over, he also acted nervous and gave a story inconsistent with the one given by his passenger.
The trooper called in a drug-sniffing dog, which alerted his handler at both the driver and passenger side doors, as well as the trunk, according to court papers. A search of the car uncovered a duffle bag stuffed with brick-shaped bundles. Each bundle contained cocaine, according to the federal paperwork. In all, the cocaine weighed in at 5.9 kilograms, about 13 pounds.
According to paperwork filed in Gonzalez’s case, authorities believe Morales had just purchased the cocaine in New York City for $90,000 and was transporting it back to Rochester when he was stopped.
Gonzalez is accused of hiring Morales to transport the drugs, then directing a second person to go along as a decoy. They left Rochester around 2:30 a.m. Saturday and were returning through Rotterdam on the Thruway when they were stopped around 2 p.m.
Authorities arrested Gonzalez on Tuesday. Searching his residence, they found shrink wrap, cardboard and a plastic heat-sealed bag, according to paperwork, materials consistent with the packaging from the cocaine seized from Morales on Feb. 2.
Gonzalez appeared in U.S. District Court in Albany on Wednesday. Bail was set Thursday at $50,000 cash or bond. If cash is posted, the prosecution can request a hearing to ensure the source of the funds is legitimate.
Gonzalez is represented by attorney David L. Gruenberg, who said his client is in the process of putting together the bail amount to get released.
“He’s entered a plea of not guilty and we’re going to go forward to see what the proof is on the other side,” he said Friday.