- The Washington Times - Saturday, June 25, 2016

More than $100,000 worth of heroin, cocaine and other hard drugs were discovered Thursday behind a hidden door inside a Brooklyn candy shop, according to the New York Police Department.

Law enforcement officials set their sights on Gates Candy and Grocery in Brooklyn’s Bushwick neighborhood after members of the State Finance Department stopped by the shop Wednesday night during an inspection for untaxed cigarettes, the New York Daily News reported.

Police were told about a hidden door discovered during the inspection, and returned with a search warrant the following morning.

When police opened the door, investigators found three hidden rooms and a secret basement believed to be the center of a massive drug-dealing operation, a local ABC affiliate reported. Police told the station that the entire bust was worth more than $100,000. 

“They had a pretty elaborate setup here,” Deputy Inspector Max Tolentino, commander of the 83rd Precinct, told Daily News.

In addition to stumbling upon large quantities of heroin, cocaine, fentanyl, PCP and lidocaine, police also recovered wholesale package supplies, drug paraphernalia and other items indicative of a large-scale operation, including more than 1.2 million glassine envelopes typically used for heroin distribution.

“I just started seeing the police emptying out the store, a truck load of boxes, then another truck, not half way but quarter way with bags sealed in evidence,” an unidentified neighbor told New York’s ABC 7.

The NYPD documented their discovery through pictures shared on Twitter in which dozens of boxes and bags brimming with narcotics were shown being collected by police. 

The alleged operation “reflects how significant that problem has once again become around that particular drug,” NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton said, according to a CBS affiliate.

Mohamad Ali, 46, and Hamdan Alsaidi, 33, face charges of drug trafficking, possession and paraphernalia in connection to the bust. As of Friday morning, however, the shop was once again open for business, the CBS affiliate reported.

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