Like a scene straight out of a movie, a Haverstraw man was indicted on Wednesday for operating an elaborate cocaine trafficking operation that included bringing in drugs from the Dominican Republic through local airports.
Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York Joon H. Kim said Matthew Draper, 49, aka "Mata," was charged with one count of conspiracy to distribute narcotics for allegedly trafficking wholesale amounts of cocaine in and around Rockland County.
Draper was arrested on Oct. 6, 2016, and has been in custody since then.
According to the indictment, Draper was part of a cocaine distribution conspiracy responsible for transporting large amounts of cocaine from the Dominican Republic to the New York area on commercial airline flights.
The conspiracy relied on contacts working in airports both in the Dominican Republic and in the U.S. to facilitate the deliveries, the complaint added.
He was caught after unknowingly working for a month with a confidential informant and a supplier in the Dominican Republic to transport some 20 kilograms of cocaine, the indictment revealed.
According to the complaint, once the drugs reached the airport, Draper intended to have the confidential informant retrieve the cocaine and deliver it to a pre-determined location.
On Oct. 5, 2016, DEA agents learned from the confidential informant that the 20 kilograms of cocaine Draper purchased had been hidden in luggage, and placed on an airplane scheduled to arrive at JFK Airport, the indictment said.
DEA agents were able to locate the airplane and the luggage in question. DEA agents recovered approximately 20 kilograms of cocaine that had been wrapped and sealed in a clear vacuum-sealed bag.
Draper was arrested that same day attempting to obtain the cocaine from the confidential informant.
Following his arrest, law enforcement recovered approximately $23,000 in cash and what appeared to be an additional kilogram of cocaine from Draper's vehicle.
Law enforcement agents also executed a search warrant at Draper's home in Haverstraw and found an additional half-kilogram cocaine.
Kim thanked the Rockland County Drug Task Force and the Town of Haverstraw Police Department Street Crime Unit for their cooperation and assistance in the investigation.