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Seventeen arrested in Philadelphia coke ring

Seventeen people, including a husband and wife from Puerto Rico, have been arrested in connection with a drug ring that officials said was trafficking cocaine from New York City to Philadelphia.

Seventeen people, including a husband and wife from Puerto Rico, have been arrested in connection with a drug ring that officials said was trafficking cocaine from New York City to Philadelphia.

Officials said 28 kilos of cocaine- an estimated $2.8 million street value in Philadelphia - were seized, along with 5 handguns, 11 properties, 16 vehicles and one motorcycle and nearly $300,000 in U.S. currency.

The Philadelphia District Attorney's office held a news conference Wednesday afternoon to announce the bust, which they said came about after a defendant arrested in relation to the Sinaloa drug cartel became an informant for investigators. In September 2011, three people were arrested in Philadelphia for alleged connections to the Sinaloa drug cartel, one of the largest and most powerful drug cartels in the world.

The cocaine was transported from New York to Philadelphia in vehicles with hidden compartments, said Jan McDermott, chief of the District Attorney's Dangerous Drug Offenders Unit.

McDermott and District Attorney Seth Williams said garages and auto body shops in the city equipping vehicles with these compartments have become a significant issue.

"Cocaine would basically be transported via the turnpike in secret compartments of vehicles down to Philadelphia to be distributed within Philadelphia in the east part of the city, the northeast part of the city and New Jersey," McDermott said.

Authorities identified the ringleader as Ricardo Rivera Colon, 36. The husband and wife from Puerto Rico were listed as Lisette E. Pichardo and Juan D. Rivera.

The investigation lasted three months and involved wiretaps of those involved. Seizures of the drugs occurred on May 13 and May 20.