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$1 million of heroin seized at airport, police ID men arrested

Updated Monday, Nov. 8, 2010 | 1:13 p.m.

$1 million heroin bust at McCarran

Police say about $1 million in black tar heroin was contained in luggage that was seized at McCarran International Airport. Launch slideshow »

Heroin arrests at McCarran

Jose Villarreal-Gazaviz Launch slideshow »

Metro Police arrested two men at McCarran International Airport on Saturday afternoon after seizing more than $1 million of black tar heroin in the largest bust of its kind in recent history, authorities said. Police on Sunday identified the two men.

Detectives responded to reports of suspicious baggage, which contained bundles of an unknown substance, at about 3:30 p.m. at the request of airport police, Metro Lt. Laz Chavez said.

Detectives determined the substance was heroin — about 7 pounds worth — bound for Indianapolis on a flight from Las Vegas with a layover in a Chicago, police said. The second suspect had luggage containing 5.6 pounds of heroin, officials said.

The drugs have a street value of $1.05 million, Chavez said. It was the “largest heroin seizure in recent memory,” he said.

The two men arrested were identified Sunday as Jose Villarreal-Gazaviz, 31, from Nayarit, Mexico, and Jessie Gallegos, 47, of Phoenix.

Chavez said the two suspects were not cooperating with authorities and were arrested. They face federal charges of distributing heroin and conspiracy to distribute, authorities said.

Metro’s narcotics K-9 unit responded to the incident and a dog “alerted” on the bags, police said. Metro detectives are continuing the investigation with the help of the Drug Enforcement Agency.

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