Aaron Sanchez, 31, has been charged with selling guns and counterfeit Oxycodone painkillers from luxury apartments in Hell’s Kitchen. After a long-term undercover investigation, the final arrest came after he allegedly dropped a stuffed dog toy full of drugs on W55th Street, authorities said Friday.
Sanchez was charged with Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree, Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Third and Fifth Degrees, Criminal Sale of a Firearm in the Third Degree, and Criminally Using Drug Paraphernalia in the Second Degree. He was arraigned before the Manhattan Criminal Court late on Thursday evening (March 10).
The investigation was a joint operation between by DEA’s New York Drug Enforcement Task Force (NYDETF), Group T-12, and the New York City Police Department’s Firearms Investigations Unit. NYDETF Group T-12 comprises agents and officers with the DEA, the NYPD and the New York State Police.
The final arrest was made when Sanchez left his home at Mercedes House luxury apartment building at 550 W54th Street on Wednesday (March 9). At around 8:30pm, agents and officers with NYDETF Group T-12 stopped him. Sanchez allegedly dropped a dog toy near a parked car — the cops found approximately 1,000 fentanyl pills in the toy that were imprinted to look like Oxycodone. A subsequent search of his apartment resulted in the seizure of 10 more fentanyl pills, a scale, a money counter and multiple rounds of ammunition.
During the investigation, Sanchez allegedly met with an undercover NYPD officer four times and sold fentanyl pills and two guns. The first three meetings occurred behind and inside The Atelier luxury residence at 635 West 42nd Street, where Sanchez previously resided. In the first sale, on August 5, 2021, Sanchez allegedly sold the undercover officer approximately 750 fentanyl pills imprinted to look like oxycodone and a piece of crystal methamphetamine in exchange for $6,000. On August 11, 2021, Sanchez allegedly provided the undercover officer with 250 fentanyl pills that were missing from the first transaction.
On October 28, 2021, Sanchez brought the undercover officer inside a penthouse apartment at The Atelier and allegedly provided 400 fentanyl pills and a Taurus 9mm firearm with two magazines, which he put inside a dog food bag. The undercover officer paid $3,600.
The final sale occurred on March 3, 2022, near to 550 West 54th Street, where Sanchez allegedly sold the undercover officer a Sig Sauer firearm with approximately 54 cartridges for $1,200.
Bridget G. Brennan, New York City’s Special Narcotics Prosecutor, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the US Drug Enforcement Administration’s (New York Division, New York City Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell and New York State Police Superintendent Kevin P. Bruen announced the arrest following the arraignment of Sanchez in Manhattan Criminal Court late last night.
Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget Brennan said in a press release issued today, “Sanchez is charged with selling guns and dealing counterfeit fentanyl pills from the comfort of his luxury apartment in Manhattan, as gun violence and drug overdose continue to surge in the city. I commend all of our law enforcement partners for working together to save lives in our city.”
DEA Acting SAC Tim Foley added: “Concealing fentanyl pills in a dog toy was just one way Sanchez would deliver deadly doses to customers. The rising threat of drug overdoses and violence is being fueled by profiteers like Sanchez. Law enforcement collaboration is paramount in our efforts to remove drugs and weapons from our streets.”
NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell said, “Abuse of opioids and the deadly additive fentanyl has cut a wide swath across our nation, affecting people from all walks of life, in every community. To combat this scourge, the NYPD and its partners on the DEA’s Drug Enforcement Task Force are relentless in our efforts to shut down illegal drug supplies, to identify and arrest dealers and, ultimately, to save New Yorkers’ lives.”
State Police Superintendent Kevin P. Bruen said, “This case serves as an example of the tireless efforts of multiple law enforcement agencies to arrest those selling dangerous drugs and firearms on New York City’s streets. We have no tolerance for this activity and we will continue our partnership to target those seeking illegal profits while putting the safety of our communities at risk.”