Four men reportedly involved in a drug ring have been apprehended for smuggling some five tons of cocaine, worth $144 million, into the U.S. by hiding the controlled substances inside hollowed-out furniture. The group was arrested on Thursday morning, July 22., authorities confirmed.

Pedro Guzman Martinez, 47, Abel Montilla, 48, Jorge Miranda-Sang, 42, and Luis Gomez Ortiz, 29, reportedly arranged the seized 100-kilogram shipments of cocaine, worth a whopping $144 million, concealed inside hollowed-out custom tables and other furniture and shipped out from Puerto Rico to the U.S. mainland in 2018 and 2019 to destinations including New York, Connecticut, Florida, and Massachusetts, according to New York Daily News.

Martinez, of Puerto Rico, was allegedly responsible for delivering the cargo and also handled shipping logistics using a false company name. Meanwhile, Sang and Ortiz were reportedly in charge of hiring the people to sign for the shipments, unpack the cocaine,e and distribute it.

Montilla has been accused as the group's cocaine delivery coordinator based in Massachusetts. At least a dozen packages with cocaine-filled furniture were sent to an address associated with Montilla in 2019, WNBC reported.

“As alleged, for a time, the defendants were able to hide their cocaine, but they were unable to hide the scheme from our law enforcement partners,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said.

The accused have been arrested on Thursday morning, July 22, and charged with one count each of conspiracy to distribute and possess with the intent to distribute narcotics. The charge carries a maximum sentence of life in prison and a minimum sentence of 10 years behind bars.

“Traffickers have always found new and innovative methods of smuggling drugs into the United States. In this case, they allegedly concealed cocaine into hollowed-out furniture. This nearly three-year investigation has dismantled an international drug trafficking organization that allegedly has been shipping thousands of kilograms of cocaine, ultimately destined for our communities,” DEA Special Agent in Charge Ray Donovan said.

United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) Inspector in Charge Philip Bartlett has doubled down in saying that their goal is to eliminate illicit drug trafficking and violence from society and provide a safe environment for the American public.

The case was investigated by the New York Drug Enforcement Task Force, comprised of DEA agents, New York City Police Department detectives, and New York State Police investigators.

chair-3209341_1920 Four men reportedly involved in a drug ring have been accused of smuggling some five tons of cocaine, worth $144 million, into the U.S. by hiding the controlled substances inside hollowed-out furniture. The group was arrested on Thursday morning, July 22. This is a representational image. Pixabay