New York Police Find $1 Million Worth of Marijuana in Crate Labeled ‘Art’

The bust was part of an ongoing investigation.

The crate didn't really contain art.Photo: courtesy NYPD.
The crate didn't really contain art.
Photo: courtesy NYPD.

When a crate labeled “art” showed up at its destination on Friday in New York’s West Village, New York police were there with drug-sniffing dogs.

The crates did not, in fact, contain paintings or sculpture. Rather, the shippers were moving some 300 pounds of marijuana under cover of crates labeled to indicate they were carrying either artworks or auto parts.

Patrick Johnson of 144 Bleecker Street, where the “art” was headed, along with Christopher Bender and Matthew Parrigo, both from Staten Island, were taken into custody on drug possession charges.

The drugs were coming from California, and the bust was part of an ongoing investigation, say the authorities. The drugs could have brought as much as $1 million if sold in small amounts, a law enforcement source told the Daily News.

It would have been the first time we'd seen art in Home Depot boxes.<br>Photo: courtesy NYPD.

It would have been the first time we’d seen art in Home Depot boxes.
Photo: courtesy NYPD.

It’s not the first time criminal shipping practices have overlapped with the art world, of course. In summer 2014, Brazilian customs authorities found $4.5 million in art contained in shipping containers shipped from Florida, which were simply labeled as containing the belongings of a 75-year-old Brazilian woman. This action may have been to evade local taxes, since “Brazil applies federal and state taxes and charges to imports that can effectively double the actual cost of imported products,” according to a trade summary by the Office of the US Trade Representative.


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