On Wednesday — the same day authorities announced the single largest heroin takedown in Northeast Ohio history, with 92 people indicted on 203 counts — two Drug Enforcement Agents were at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport where they found more than seven pounds of heroin in the suitcase of a man flying from Los Angeles, according to an affidavit just filed in Cleveland's federal court.
DEA agent Joseph Harper says he received "intelligence from a source of information" about a man named Eddy Martinez who had paid cash for a one-way ticket, and an overweight fee for his one checked bag, from Los Angeles to Cleveland. Harper searched for the identity of Martinez but couldn't verify any of the information. He and another DEA agent went to Hopkins and spotted who they thought was their target was getting off US Airways flight 4584 and followed him to baggage claim.
Harper "conducted a consensual encounter" with the man, who allowed the agents to check his flight records and consented to having his suitcase check, according to the affidavit.
The bag was "unusually heavy" with "thick padding sewn into the liner an located in the bottom of the suitcase; padding and location being indicative of the methods person involved in drug dealing utilize to conceal drugs and/or drug proceeds during transport."
The two agents found "a flat package wrapped in black electrical tape containing air fresheners and two separate sealed vacuum saver bags, each bag containing a brown substance that resembled in texture and oder the controlled substance known as heroin." Martinez was detained.
Agents weighed the two vacuum bags with heroin: one weighed 1,624 grams, the other weighed 1,655 grams. That's 7.2 pounds or 3.3 kilograms: serious weight.
According to the affidavit, when one agent said they were going to ship the heroin to a lab in Chicago, Martinez said "that's funny, I was transporting it and now you guys are."
Officers processed Martinez and found his full name to be Eddy Jose Martinez Delgado, who later stated he got the suitcase from suppliers around Fontana, California and would be paid when it was delivered in Ohio. The people involved in the massive heroin bust announced on Wednesday got their heroin from Atlanta and Chicago.
Read the affidavit here: