Cartel Members Released From Jail After Feds Arrested Them

( According to federal authorities, two Southern California men with possible ties to Mexican cartels were arrested last week in New York City with approximately $1.2 million worth of crystal meth. But thanks to the state’s ridiculous bail reform laws, the two were later released.

Luis Estrada and Carlos Santos allegedly drove a rented vehicle from California to New York carrying about 165 pounds of meth believed to have come from Mexico.

Estrada was carrying a black suitcase containing 40 pounds of meth outside of a Marriot hotel in Lower Manhattan on July 5 when law enforcement apprehended him. Three days later, Santos was apprehended near the white rented van containing over 100 pounds of meth hidden inside two air compressor canisters.

The suspects were charged with second-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and were placed on supervised release just one day after each was arrested.

Despite the significant quantity of meth the suspects were transporting, New York State does not qualify methamphetamines as a narcotic, but as a controlled substance, so prosecutors couldn’t request bail for either suspect.

According to Bridget Brennan, the city’s Special Narcotics Prosecutor, the state’s failure to include methamphetamine possession as a bail-eligible offense is a serious problem, but “probably an oversight.”

Brennan explained that when the state reformed its bail laws, New York City wasn’t considered a distribution hub for meth. And with the new bail law, authorities can no longer ask for bail for meth possession, even if the suspect is from outside New York and has “a load worth of millions of dollars.”

New York’s bail reform law has been the gift that keeps on giving.

State authorities said New York has seen a 1300 percent increase in methamphetamine seizures since 2021. Illicit meth use among those 12 years and older rose from 1.5 million in 2016-2017 to 1.9 million in 2018-2019.

According to DEA special agent Frank A. Tarentino III, the seizure of 165 pounds of meth from Estrada and Santos “is a calculated treachery by Mexican Cartels to flood the United States with their poison” to expand their customer base and increase profits “while driving addiction.”