FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM DECEMBER 16, 2021 • THE QUEENS COURIER 3
Hochul unveils $9.5 billion JFK Terminal One airport project
BY DEAN MOSES
Governor Kathy Hochul unveiled a
grand vision Monday for New York and
how people from around the world will
access it, including a brand-new JFK
“We plan with that announcement
here today to transform JFK Airport
into, I’m told to say, ‘One of the top airports
Rendering via Governor Hochul’s offi ce
Alleged fentanyl traffi ckers busted in Bayside released without bail
BY STEPHEN WITT
Two alleged fentanyl traffi ckers — a
California man and a Mexican national
— nabbed in Queens with two kilos (4.49
pounds) of the deadly drug wound up
being sprung from jail without any bail.
Queens Criminal Court Judge Karen
Gopee made that decision at the Dec. 3
arraignment of Navarro Gonzalez, 26, of
Bell Garden, California, and Juan Esquer,
48, of Jalisco, Mexico. Th ey were charged
with criminal possession of a controlled
substance and other crimes aft er they
were pulled over during a Dec. 2 traffi c
stop in Bayside and police found two kilos
of fentanyl allegedly in the vehicle.
Despite their heavy, lethal load — fentanyl
is one of the deadliest of synthetic
opioids — Gonzalez and Esquer were
ordered by Gopee to be released under
supervision and ordered to return to
court on Feb. 1, 2022.
Th e offi ce of Queens District Attorney
Melinda Katz had requested $50,000 cash
bail for each defendant. But a spokesperson
said the judge apparently used her
own discretion in setting the two suspects
“Fentanyl is a lethal drug and two
kilos is a signifi cant amount. We asked
for $50,000 bail in this case because we
believe it was necessary in order to ensure
that these defendants, who have no ties
to New York City, return to court. Th e
supervised release was ordered by the
arraigning court, using her discretion,”
said Chris Policano, the chief public information
offi cer for the Queens district
attorney’s offi ce.
According to the state Department of
Health, nearly half of all overdose deaths
in New York state now involve fentanyl.
Street dealers are known to cut heroin
and cocaine with the drug, and most
recently offi cials have warned of fentanyllaced
According to Katz, on Dec. 2, cops
observed Gonzalez driving a silver Ford
Escape near Northern Boulevard and
204th Street in Bayside. Esquer was seated
in the front passenger seat. Th e driver
allegedly made a right turn without signaling
which resulted in a car stop by police.
According to the charges, police executed
a court-authorized search warrant
for the interior of the vehicle and recovered
the fentanyl in packages enfolded in
green saran wrap bricks and hidden in the
passenger’s side air bag. A police lab confi
rmed the substance recovered was the
synthetic drug fentanyl.
Among the agencies involved in the bust
— along with the NYPD — were members
of the U.S. Department of Justice
Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task
Force (OCDETF) Strike Force Initiative
in connection with the United States
Drug Enforcement Administration’s Long
Island Division Offi ce.
New York Regional DEA spokesperson
Michelle O’Toole said because this is an
ongoing investigation, the agency cannot
“We refer you to the Queens DA’s
offi ce for any additional information that
they might be able to share at this time,”
O’Toole said in an email.
Katz’ offi ce refused any further comment
on the case or investigation, but
noted the importance of clamping down
on the drug.
“Fentanyl has played a key role in the
dramatic increase we’ve seen in fatal drug
overdoses in Queens. It is a dangerous
drug that must be kept off our streets,”
Additional reporting by Bill Parry and
in the world.’ I don’t know why I
can’t say the best airport in the world,”
Hochul said, beaming, from her idtown
offi ce on Dec. 13.
The proposed $9.5 billion JFK
Terminal One will boast 23 new gates
and will be the largest international terminal
at a whopping 2.4 million square
feet; it will replace the current terminals
1 and 2, and the former Terminal 3 site.
Th e jaw-dropping production is not
only set to be the world’s largest international
terminal in terms of sheer scale,
it will also have the distinction of being
the largest private investment ever committed
to a U.S. airport terminal.
“We are so interconnected with the
rest of the globe. We want people to
come from all over to fi nd themselves
right at the doorstep of New York. So,
they fi nd the opportunity to go here,
visit New York, visit our friends in New
Jersey, see upstate New York and continue
their journey across this nation.
But come here fi rst and we have 23
new international gates. It’s going to
be extraordinary. We plan to be able to
handle over 20 million customers a year.
Th at’s incredible as well,” Hochul said.
Pending Board approval, the Port
Authority is set to fi nalize the new terminal’s
lease and construction as soon
as this week. Th e project will be privately
fi nanced by a consortium of labor,
operating and fi nancial partners, and
designed by AECOM Tishman.
Construction on JFK Terminal One
will begin on or about mid-2022, and
potentially completed in phases — with
14 gates built by 2026, fi ve more by 2028
and the project fi nished by 2032.
“But when it is done, it’ll be an experience
that is worthy of the name New
York, and worthy of the name John F.
Kennedy. And as John Kennedy once
said, ‘Every accomplishment starts with
a simple decision to try.’ We’ve done
that. We are more than trying. We’re
going to get it done. And I thank everyone
who’s part of reimagining New York
state as a whole, our transportation
hubs, our infrastructure opportunities. I
am so proud to be able to help lead this
state into a whole new era and it starts
with announcements like these and
we’re going to continue to unlock New
York state’s full potential,” Hochul said.
Th e JFK Terminal One project also
aims to simplify the airport roadway,
making arrivals and departures a seamless
experience. It also includes public
art installations; family-friendly amenities
such as play areas and green space;
extensive lighting from the high ceilings;
and green features for sustainability
using electric ground service equipment
to reduce diesel fumes.
In addition to the creation of a new
terminal, Port Authority Executive
Director Rick Cotton shared that
this endeavor will deliver on its
multiyear commitment in southeast
Queens reinvestment, increasing
work opportunities, educational
programs and small businesses.
Th is project alone, he
said, will be a major contributor
to the region’s economic recovery,
with more than 10,000 local jobs
and over 6,000 union construction
really is a historic one. And
it is, as the governor said,
a vote of confi dence in JFK
Airport. It is a vote of confi
dence in the recovery of air traffi c in a
post pandemic world. And it is an enormous
vote of confi dence in the future
vitality of New York and New Jersey, the
entire region,” Cotton said.
Queens Borough President Donovan
Richards and Congressman Gregory
Meeks, both of whom serve on the JFK
Advisory Council, were also in attendance
for the historic announcement.
Applauding the governor for the jobs
that they believe the terminal will bring
to the borough they serve, the officials
believe the plan will ensure Queens
serves as the link hub that connects
Courtesy U.S. Customs and Border Protection/Handout via
A rendering of JFK Terminal One.
Photo by Dean Moses
Executive Director of the Port Authority of New York and New
Jersey Rick Cotton shared his excitement for the plan.
Photo by Dean Moses
Governor Hochul touted the improvements to
a room fi lled with onlookers at her midtown