Another Man Linked to Home Explosion Faces Drug Charges

The Wall Street Journal - October 02, 2016

by Mark Morales

A second man believed to have been involved in the Bronx grow house that exploded and killed a Fire Department of New York chief was awaiting arraignment on Friday, officials said.

Julio Salcedo was transported from Bergen, N.J., to Bronx Criminal Court to face charges of marijuana possession stemming from the explosion at the Kingsbridge home that killed FDNY Chief Michael Fahy on Tuesday, officials said.

Mr. Salcedo couldn’t be reached for comment. It wasn’t immediately clear if an attorney had been assigned to his case.

Meanwhile, officials said they were still uncovering evidence from the home, including “botanical substances,” gas piping, meters and sealants used for the rooms where the marijuana was grown, New York Police Department Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said. The gas pipe from the street is also slated to be excavated, Mr. Boyce said. “Obviously gas was involved,” said Chief Boyce. “That’s what started the process. The neighbors smelled the gas so we have to determine what that exactly was. Was it manipulation, tampering, was there some other issue.”

“We have a lot of work to do,” he added.

Firefighters discovered what appeared to be a so-called marijuana grow house in the residence at 300 234th St. and reported it to police at about 6:30 a.m. Tuesday, a law-enforcement officials said. Firefighters and police were evacuating nearby buildings when the explosion occurred.

Mr. Salcedo, who was seen leaving the area shortly after firefighters arrived, was arrested later that day in Cliffside Park, N.J., on a warrant for petty crime, officials said. He was believed to be a tenant in the Bronx home, a New York City law-enforcement official said.

On Thursday, Garibaldi Castillo, 32 years old, the other man suspected of running the marijuana-growing operation, was charged with two counts of criminal possession of marijuana. Mr. Castillo could still face murder charges related to Tuesday’s deadly explosion, prosecutors said during his arraignment in Bronx Criminal Court. His attorney couldn’t be reached for comment.

Funeral services for Chief Fahy are scheduled for Saturday morning at the Annunciation Church on Westchester Avenue in Yonkers.