(New York Post) A pair of suspected Mexican drug-cartel smugglers was busted with a $1.2 million stash of crystal meth — but had to be freed thanks to New York’s lax bail laws, authorities said Monday.
The two California men, Luis Estrada and Carlos Santos, were allegedly caught red-handed by the US Drug Enforcement Administration as part of a multi-agency investigation. Yet frustrated agents had to stand by and watch as the suspects were cut loose on just supervised release, the federal agency said.
That’s because the two men could only be charged with second-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, as opposed to a narcotic, under the state’s outdated drug laws, authorities said. And the rap does not qualify for bail according to the Empire State’s soft-on-crime 2019 bail-reform measures, they said.
“This is a serious problem,” said New York City Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget Brennan to The 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 said.
“I hope that when legislators are better informed they will make a change,” she added.
Authorities said Estrada, 19, and the 34-year-old Santos were nabbed with 165 pounds of crystal meth while attempting to make two drop-offs.