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Bridget G. Brennan Special Narcotics Prosecutor
The New York City Council
Committee on Public Safety
Fiscal Year 2012
Preliminary Budget Hearings
March 15, 2011 250 Broadway New York, NY
OFFICE OF THE SPECIAL NARCOTICS PROSECUTOR
I would like to thank the City Council for its consistent and generous support of the Ofﬁce of Special Narcotics and all of the District Attorneys’ Ofﬁces through the years. The leadership of the Public Safety Committee has been critical in helping us through difﬁcult times. Your commitment to public safety and our ofﬁces has been demonstrated both in your ﬁnancial support and in your creation of initiatives that have enhanced public safety. Funding: I would like to reiterate my gratitude for the steps you have taken in the last few years to make certain that my agency has parity with the other District Attorneys. Your advocacy was critical in achieving the needed baseline funding that will guarantee that my ofﬁce is funded at the same level as other prosecutors’ ofﬁces. Unfortunately, our funding continues to be highly unpredictable. Over the last few years we have received a ﬂurry of baseline cuts and cash restorations, making it impossible to plan. Even more troubling, in most instances, we have only received one-time cash infusions that have replaced budget cuts of baseline funding. As demonstrated by the 2% cut we just received, we can no longer forecast what our budget will be from one year to the next, or even from one budget modiﬁcation to the next.
OSNP Total Funding Reductions Fiscal 2012 Projected vs. Fiscal 2011 Modiﬁed Amount $17,908,646
OSNP FY 2011 Modiﬁed Budget Projected FY 2012 Changes City Funding Reductions State Funding Reductions Federal Funding Reductions Total -10.2% OSNP FY 2012 Projected Budget
(1,153,930) (525,530) (152,655) $(1,832,115) $16,076,531
In ﬁscal year 2012, the combined total reduction in projected city, state and federal funding for my ofﬁce is $1,832,115, or 10.2%. Such a funding loss in one year would render us unable to fulﬁll our statutory duties. Therefore I urge the Council to assist us in three critical areas: restore the City Council cash grant to its previous level, advocate to the City for 2012 baselining of the one-time cash infusions that we received in 2011, and help us to eliminate the newly proposed and unsustainable two percent executive budget cut.
Drugs and Violence: While crime in New York City is nowhere near the record levels seen twenty years ago, there has been a troubling rise in homicides, robberies and felony assaults in some of our neighborhoods. As is well known, drugs play a signiﬁcant role in violent crime. In particular, there have been some alarming shootings and homicides in Housing Developments that have been motivated by drugs and drug gangs. Unfortunately, drug selling, drug use and drug addiction have not abated
in New York City. Our international drug trafﬁcking cases demonstrate that drugs are still ﬂowing into this country. Just this month, our investigators assisted the DEA and the New York Drug Enforcement Task Force in seizing 18 kilograms of heroin that had been smuggled across the border from Mexico into California and then trucked across the country. New York City residents were the intended purchasers of this heroin. It is heroin such as this, along with cocaine and other addictive drugs, that fuels the violence in the city. In just one example, last year our ofﬁce charged the city’s ﬁrst drug kingpin under the newly enacted statute. The defendant, Jose Delorbe, ran a violent drug ring that sold at least two pounds of heroin and cocaine each day from an apartment building in The Bronx. Delorbe and his crew were implicated in a shoot-out after they were captured on surveillance video carrying guns and ﬁring a hail of bullets at rivals in the street. Adequately funding the City’s prosecutors will allow us to maintain public safety and the crime reductions that our citizens deserve. Black Market Prescription Narcotic Drugs: We are also facing a new, insidious threat – the exploding, illegal use of prescription drugs such as Oxycontin, Percoset and Vicodin. Lulled into a sense that prescription drugs are safe and well-regulated, the public has been slow to absorb the reality that we are in the middle of an epidemic. These prescriptions drugs are abused by young and old alike. Most alarming is the regular abuse of prescription drugs by children. Prescription and over-the-counter drugs comprised 8 of the top 14 categories of drugs abused by 12th graders in 2009.
Heroin from Mexico is routed through California to New York City.
The easy access to prescription drugs, and the illusion that they are safe, has lured our children onto a perilous path. This path is paid for, in large measure, by the taxpayer. Medicaid dollars pay for many of the drugs stolen from medicine cabinets, sold on the street, and purchased with phony prescriptions. It is critical that we work immediately to reverse this trend. I know that we can count on you to help us to aggressively pursue this complex problem. Community Engagement: With the Citywide jurisdiction of my ofﬁce, we routinely do large scale investigations of drug gangs that ruin their neighborhoods. However, I do not rest solely with the conviction of drug dealers. I understand that to maintain the gains brought
by freeing a community of these drug felons, we must work with the community to keep their buildings safe and prevent the return of the drug dealers. For example, we investigated and arrested a drug gang in the Albany Houses in Brooklyn that were destroying the quality of life for the legitimate tenants. Following that investigation, we created a Teen Impact Center in the community room of the Albany Houses in partnership with the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Ofﬁce, New York City Housing Authority, the New York City Police Department, the New York City Department of Education and the Police Athletic League. With support from the City Council, we hope to open Opening the new Teen Impact Center at the Albany similar centers and continue our community engagement Houses in Brooklyn, NY. in the neighborhoods where we have dismantled drug gangs. Drug Treatment: Just as we must prevent drug selling and abuse, we must also provide treatment to those who are already addicted. Drug treatment has been a signiﬁcant priority for my agency for over twenty years. My ofﬁce has a unit devoted to evaluating, tracking and overseeing our DTAP program, as well as monitoring the treatment granted through the Judicial Diversion program. I continue to meet regularly with drug treatment providers to share information and receive guidance on effective demand reduction strategies. Hopefully you can join me in developing an effective public information campaign to alert the public, our schools, parents and our colleagues to the dangers posed by prescription medication abuse. Consequences of Budget Cuts: Unfortunately, the pro- beginning for defendants successfully participating posed cuts for ﬁscal year 2012 will signiﬁcantly hamper our in DTAP. ability to fulﬁll our mission and address new challenges. More than 96% of our city budget pays for personal services, thus saving can only be accomplished through the reduction of personnel. Shrinking our staff will impede our ability to serve the public, will slow our response to cases and will have the cascading effect of escalating costs for police, corrections and the court. Ultimately, these cuts could impact the safety and security of our communities.
Graduation from a treatment program is a new
A dangerous and alarming trend has swept the country, and has New York City in its grip: the diversion and abuse of prescription drugs. Considered a relatively minor problem just a few years ago – especially when compared to the abuse of street drugs – misuse of prescription drugs like Vicodin and oxycodone has exploded at such an alarming rate recently that steps must be taken immediately to stem the epidemic. Nationally, the picture is well documented. According to SAMHSA’s1 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, seven million Americans reportedly used prescription drugs for nonmedical purposes in 2009, which was more than the number of Americans using cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens and inhalants, combined. Of those seven million Americans, 31% reported that their use of narcotic pain relievers for nonmedical purposes ﬁrst began in 2009. The prescription drug abuse epidemic has hit New York City particularly hard. Oxycodone, the generic name for a narcotic pain reliever commonly prescribed as OxyContin, is among the most frequently prescribed and heavily abused. Just last month, we received data from the New York State Health Department which shows that, over the past three years, the number of oxycodone prescriptions ﬁlled has increased by 97% on average across all ﬁve boroughs. The breakdown by borough is as follows:
Borough Brooklyn Bronx Staten Island Queens Manhattan Average 3-Year % Increase 120% 116% 98% 95% 65% 97%
It is not just the rate of increase, but the sheer number of pills prescribed that is so startling. In 2010, more than one million prescriptions were ﬁlled in New York city – enough to supply one prescription for every eighth person , or 13% of the total population. In 2007, only half a million prescriptions were ﬁlled, enough for a more reasonable 6% of the city wide population.
1 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
Staten Island is the borough most inundated with oxycodone. Per-capita, the number of oxycodone prescriptions ﬁlled in Staten Island in 2010 represented an astounding 28% of the borough’s population – compared to 17% (Bronx), 13% (Manhattan), 10% (Brooklyn) and 10% (Queens). The increase in sheer numbers of prescriptions strongly correlates with the increase in prescription drug abuse which our agency has witnessed ﬁrsthand. In 2007, 6% of our caseload was comprised of prescription drug-related arrests. The percentage more than doubled to nearly 15% of our caseload by 2010. While the increasing numbers are a matter of concern, the violence associated with the black market prescription drug trade is outright alarming. Many of our prescription drug investigations have lead to seizures of guns, and in some cases small arsenals. Just last month, along with the NYPD and DEA, we investigated a suspected drug stash location in an apartment on the Upper West Side. A search warrant was executed at the apartment, and ofﬁcers discovered 350 oxycodone pills, as well as crack cocaine and three loaded semiautomatic handguns. Also last month, a defendant was sentenced to six years in prison after we discovered a stash of hydrocodone pills – along with crack cocaine, a loaded AK-47, two semiautomatic 9MM handguns, a 12 gauge shotgun and ammunition – in his Coney Island, Brooklyn, apartment. A Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, resident was also sentenced to six years in prison when an undercover operation involving the sale of 300 oxycodone pills over a four-month period led to the discovery of a loaded gun and 33 rounds of ammunition in his home. This particular defendant also had a violent criminal history. Another recent search warrant execution in Astoria, Queens, netted a stash of Percocet (oxycodone) pills, together with cocaine, a 45 caliber handgun, 198 rounds of ammunition, a bullet-proof vest and a police scanner. These are just a small sampling of the numerous cases we see involving illegal prescription drug dealing among dangerous felons with guns at the ready. Without the necessary resources to combat the problem in New York City, we will see a continuation of the escalating trade in prescription drugs and associated violence. Prescription drug abuse is alarmingly widespread. People of all age groups have been falling victim to prescription drug abuse and addiction. There is no single, identiﬁable proﬁle of the typical prescription drug abuser. In fact, older Americans make up a sizeable portion of the drug-abusing population. Perhaps the most disturbing trend is the abuse of prescription drugs among young adults and teenagers. The National Institute on Drug Abuse’s Monitoring the Future survey provides some startling statistics: 15% of all surveyed 12th graders reported using prescription drugs for nonmedical purposes in the past year. Furthermore, prescription and over-the-counter drugs account for nearly 60% of the top categories of
Prescription and over-the-counter medications are abused more frequently by 12th graders than marijuana.
Seizures of prescription drugs increasingly go hand in hand with weapons.
drugs abused by 12th graders in 2009. As an example, nearly one in 10 have abused hydrocodone (i.e. Vicodin), and nearly one in 20 have abused oxycodone (i.e. OxyContin). The Partnership for a Drug-Free America reports similarly troubling ﬁgures: one in ﬁve teenagers has reported abusing prescription pain relievers, and an equal number reported abusing prescription stimulants and tranquilizers. What makes prescription drug abuse so difﬁcult to control is that use and addiction often begin in a seemingly innocent fashion. Unlike with other drugs, people do not have to turn to a drug dealer to get their ﬁx (not that there is any shortage of dealers on the streets selling prescription drugs). Prescription drugs originate legally and are then diverted to the illegal black market through various avenues. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, more than half of all 12th graders said that their narcotics were given to them by a relative or friend. According to SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health, only slightly more than 4% of all people age 12 and older reported obtaining their prescription pain relievers from a drug dealer or other stranger. Interestingly, studies show that very few (around 0.4%) bought prescription pain relievers over the Internet. Prescription drugs are dangerous and abuse can have deadly consequences. SAMHSA estimates that the total number of people rushed to the emergency room for non-medical use of narcotic pain relievers more than doubled between 2004 and 2008. Prescription pain relievers are involved in a substantial proportion of drug overdoses. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reported that the number of deaths due to narcotic pain reliever overdose tripled between 1999 and 2006 and outnumbered the total number of deaths from heroin and cocaine. A report issued by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention noted that approximately 28,000 Americans died from overdoses in 2007.
Loss in City Funding: In current ﬁscal year 2011, my ofﬁce received two baseline budget cuts, an executive cut of 8.4% or $1,262,656 and a mid-year November cut at 1.3% or $197,945 (prorated to 0.9% or $139,305 for ﬁscal 2011 for partial year). Though the City restored a small portion of the executive cut in June 2010, thanks to your efforts during the adoption process, the total reducOSNP City Baseline Funding Reductions tion in our baseline budget still amounted vs. to 8.52%. or $1,285,384. These cuts were One-Time Cash Infusions all the more devastating as our baseline city Fiscal 2011 Modiﬁed vs. Fiscal 2012 Projected funding has already been reduced by 16.4% City Baseline Budget Reductions Amount or $2.25 million dollars since ﬁscal 2003, FY 2012 -2.4% (369,000) assuming the baseline restoration through FY 2011 -8.5% (1,285,384) the DA Revenue Agreement does not get reTotal Cut -10.9% $(1,654,384) moved. We have managed to avoid layoffs this year by offsetting the cuts with the substantial amount of one-time cash funds received during the year. The total cash funds we received in ﬁscal 2011 equals $655,067, about half of the two cuts combined. The cash funds come from various sources including: DA Revenue funding, a one-time cash restoration from OMB, and the grant from the City Council. Without these cash funds, which equals the salaries of 9 ADA’s or 8 percent of my entire legal staff, we would have had no choice but to lay off staff.
Cash Funds Received in FY2011 DA Revenue Overage Funds City Council Cash Grant Cash Restoration of Executive Cut 433,970 112,020 109,077 $655,067
Unfortunately, the news for ﬁscal 2012 is dire. The $655,067 cash funding or 4.3% of our budget that kept us aﬂoat in ﬁscal 2011 has been removed from our ﬁscal 2012 budget. We have just been informed that we will receive another 2% budget cut in the coming executive plan. This new cut will bring our total loss in City funds over the last two years to a stunning $1.65 million dollars or 11%. State Reductions: The state’s budget situation appears to worsen daily and no one can forecast how state ofﬁcials will allocate scarce resources. Overall, we foresee that combining all of our state funding cuts, our state budget will be reduced by 37% or $525,000 in ﬁscal 2012. Our state Aid to Prosecution grant, which has been cut by over a third since ﬁscal 2003, is expected to be reduced by at least another 8% in ﬁscal 2012. In addition, the $116,300 we receive from the State for our Drug Treat8
ment Alternative to Prison Program (DTAP), which does not remotely approach the cost of the program to my agency, will be further cut by 8%. We must also assume that Narcotics Gang Unit and Crimes Against Revenue Program funding will not be renewed next year. Added together, these cuts amount to a 37% reduction in our state funding in one year. Federal Funding: Though we are grateful for the one-time cash infusion in stimulus funding, our federal grant money has plummeted by a staggering 90% or $616,619, from $687,468 in 2002 to $70,849 in ﬁscal year 2009. The only federal funding remaining is the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant, which continues to diminish each year. Given the assumed amount of federal cuts in ﬁscal year 2012, the chances of our JAG funding being renewed is getting even slimmer.
Funding for a Safe Neighborhood Initiative in Housing Developments: Comprehensive investigations, effective prosecutions, and coordinated community rebuilding efforts, can dramatically change neighborhoods and the quality of life for residents of public housing. This approach is critical to ensure that entrenched drug gangs are appropriately punished and that neighborhoods have both the time and resources to rebuild. We have begun this approach through the opening of a Teen Impact Center in the Albany Houses in Brooklyn in collaboration with the Brooklyn District Attorneys’ Ofﬁce, the New York City Housing Authority, the New York City Police Department, the New York City Department of Education and the Police Athletic League. For the relatively small cost of $40,000, a similar center can be opened in another Housing Development where we have removed dangerous drug gangs. We are also proposing to set up a small unit trained and equipped to handle the multi-dimensional approach required in these cases. The unit would coordinate, investigate and prosecute the extensive investigations needed to combat the drug activity in the housing developments, while the Community Liaison would work with the local District Attorney’s ofﬁce to restore needed stability to residents of the development. The unit would coordinate with other city, state and federal agencies, and not-for-proﬁt organizations, to assist in obtaining the resources needed to ensure that the public safety gains and the quality of life improvements remain in place. We are therefore requesting $235,000 in funding to establish this unit which would consist of two ADAs and a Community Liaison, and a new Teen Impact Center. Black Market Prescription Medication Unit: Combating the sale, distribution and diversion of controlled substance prescription medication is a multi-faceted and complex endeavor. The black market involves not only the sale of narcotic pills, but also Medicaid fraud, and corrupt practices by doctors and pharmacists. The investigation of these crimes requires an expertise in these subject matters. In addition, coordination between the many agencies with jurisdiction over these issues is a unique challenge. The agencies that deal with various aspects of the black market of prescription drugs include the New York State Attorney General’s Ofﬁce, the Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement of the NYS Department of Health, the Ofﬁce of the New York State Medicaid Inspector General, the Drug Enforcement Agency, the FBI, the NYPD, the New York City District Attorneys and my ofﬁce. I have been meeting with these groups to develop a coordinated strategy to combat this growing problem. With funding for a unit devoted to this growing problem, investigations will begin to be able to keep up with the exploding black market in narcotic prescription medications. We would like to request $200,000 to pay for the salaries of two ADAs and a Investigative Analyst.
Prescription Diversion 2 ADAs 1 Investigative Analyst Total $150,000 50,000 $200,000 Safe Neighborhoods 2 ADAs 1 Community Liaison New Teen Center Total $150,000 45,000 40,000 $235,000
Curtains for Theater District Heroin Mill A booming heroin mill located in Manhattan’s Theater District was dismantled in November. A quantity of heroin large enough to ﬁll more than 150,000 “glassine” envelopes was seized from a West 43rd Street apartment that housed the drug ring’s packaging operation, just blocks from Times Square. Members of the New York Drug Enforcement Task Force and SNP investigators arrested four drug trafﬁckers, who had been busily packaging heroin. Investigators found piles of loose heroin on tables. Tens of thousands of glassines were already ﬁlled and wrapped into bundles for delivery. A variety of stamps were used to market the heroin under different brand names, including “Jersey Boys,” “Cats & Dogs,” “King Kong” and “95 South.” Drug Ring Dismantled inside Brooklyn’s Albany Houses Six drug dealers who sold heroin and crack-cocaine at the Albany Houses in Crown Heights, Brooklyn were arrested in July. The defendants sold narcotics in apartments, public hallways and stairwells inside two buildings at the NYCHA Housing Development. Following a series of shootings at the complex earlier in the year, undercover ofﬁcers with the NYPD’s Brooklyn North Narcotics Division made dozens of buys from six loosely afﬁliated dealers during a yearlong probe. During one meeting with an undercover ofﬁcer, a subject of the investigation was videotaped conducting a drug sale with his preschool-aged child in tow. Police searched 11 apartments at the time of the arrests and seized drugs and one ﬁrearm. $1 Million in Heroin Seized From Bronx Mill Police seized 7 kilograms (15 lbs.) of heroin worth $1 million in a court-authorized search of a Bronx heroin mill in April following an extensive investigation. Four members of the drug ring were arrested. A search of the Starling Avenue apartment where the mill was located yielded 50,000 user-ready “glassine” envelopes packaged with heroin, as well as 50 different stamps used for branding the glassines with different names, such as “Almighty,” “Heat Wave” and “Body Bag.” Police also recovered cardboard boxes of empty glassine envelopes, scales, and coffee grinders used for cutting the heroin. In the week leading up to the arrests, one of the defendants, Luis Lara, was observed travelling to both JFK Airport and Newark Liberty International Airport in a single day. Another of his the defendants was arrested as he left the heroin mill with a backpack that contained 3,000 glassines of heroin.
A round-the-clock heroin packaging mill operated in an upscale apartment building on West 43rd Street, just blocks from Times Square.
A Bronx heroin mill churned out thousands of user-ready “glassine” envelopes that were stamped with a variety of brand names.
Brooklyn Couple Sold Rx Drugs and Laundered Cash through Real Estate A Brooklyn couple sold large quantities of illegal prescription drugs and funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars in proﬁts into real estate purchases in the Dominican Republic. The couple obtained the medication, including drugs used to treat HIV, from a bodega in Brownsville. The bodega owner, who stockpiled drugs he’d bought from patients with legitimate prescriptions, was also arrested along with three additional participants in the scheme. Police stopped the couple’s car in May and seized bags of pills in their original bottles. A court authorized search of their home yielded extensive drug sale records. Twenty-Eight Narcotics Dealers Nabbed In Operation Opera House Twenty-eight individuals were arrested for selling cocaine, crack, marijuana and heroin at the Amsterdam Houses, a New York City Housing Authority complex located behind Lincoln Center. The complex served as the major a hub for drug trafﬁcking in the area. The neighborhood is home to ﬁve schools, including Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music and Performing Arts, Beacon High School and P.S. 191. Undercover NYPD ofﬁcers made 50 purchases during the 9-month probe, which wrapped up in March. Residents had complained about heavy trafﬁc in the hallways and discarded drug paraphernalia littering the ﬂoors in public areas, where many of sales took place. During the investigation, undercover ofﬁcers observed drug trafﬁckers using students, who live in the complex and attend city high schools, as look-outs and dealers-in-training. Woman Ran Rx Drug Operation from Chelsea Apartment A Chelsea woman was arrested for selling over $3,500 in prescription medication to an undercover ofﬁcer in the span of one month. The ofﬁcer purchased oxycodone, Vicodin and Percocet from Olga Miranda during four meetings inside the mailroom in the lobby of her apartment building on West 19th Street in Manhattan between December 2010 and January 2011. Following Miranda’s arrest on Jan. 7, police searched her apartment and found over 2,000 pills, including Vicodin, Percocet, methadone and steroids. An examination of the prescriptions used to obtain the drugs revealed they were all written out to Miranda, and they all came from the same pharmacy. Approximately 20 different doctors’ names appeared on the prescriptions. Seventy Pounds of Cocaine and Nine Firearms Seized An investigation into cocaine trafﬁcking in Manhattan led police to a pair of stash houses in Brooklyn and Queens, where ofﬁcers seized seventy pounds of cocaine with a street value of up to $10 million and nine ﬁrearms. Following the issuance of court authorized search warrants, three members of the drug ring and one customer were apprehended by ofﬁcers with the NYPD’s Manhattan North Narcotics Bureau in April. Earlier in the day, police observed a drug sale in plain view on the sidewalk in front of a stash house on Greene Avenue in Ridgewood, Queens. Ofﬁcers recovered nearly 40 pounds of cocaine from a suitcase and a washing machine in that apartment, as well as a loaded handgun. Ring leader Carlos Rivera had keys to both stash houses in his possession at the time of his arrest. The second stash house in Bushwick, Brooklyn, contained more than 30 pounds of cocaine hidden in a plant stand that was ﬁtted with an electronically operated trap. Eight guns, including two assault weapons, were found inside a speaker, while another assault weapon was under a mattress.
A woman stockpiled prescription medication in her Chelsea apartment and sold $3,500 in pills to an undercover ofﬁcer in the course of one month.
A Brooklyn couple sold illegal prescription medication and laundered hundreds of thousands of dollars in drug proceeds through real estate they purchased and developed in the Dominican Republic.
Columbia University Drug Ring Dismantled: Five Students and Three Off-Campus Suppliers Arrested Five Columbia University students were arrested for selling drugs at three fraternity houses and other on-campus residences in December. “Operation Ivy League” also led to the arrests and indictment of three of the students’ drug suppliers. One of these suppliers is charged with plotting to kidnap a pair of rival cocaine trafﬁckers, whom he believed had stolen money from him. During a ﬁve-month investigation that began in July, undercover ofﬁcers with the NYPD’s Narcotics Borough Manhattan North made 31 purchases from the ﬁve students, who sold a variety of drugs, including cocaine, marijuana, powdered MDMA (ecstasy), Adderall and LSD. In some cases, LSD, a liquid hallucinogen, was applied to candies. Searches of the students’ rooms yielded quantities of drugs, scales, thousands of dollars in cash and sales records. Police Put the Brakes on High-End Cocaine Delivery Service Two high-end drug dealers were arrested for running a door-to-door cocaine delivery service that catered to the city’s elite. The dealers, Manuel Castillo and Juan Torres, charged a 300 percent mark up on 70 percent pure cocaine and made curbside deliveries to Manhattan nightclubs, upscale apartments and homes in the Hamptons. An undercover ofﬁcer with NYPD’s Manhattan South Narcotics team made 10 drug purchases during the course of the investigation, which led to A-1 felony charges. The drug delivery service had been in business for approximately ﬁve years and brought in an estimated half a million dollars annually. A third defendant was also arrested for assisting in the drug operation. Two Heroin Rings Beached in Southern Brooklyn Two heroin rings that sold heroin in Coney Island and Brighton Beach were dismantled in July. One organization, headed by Vincent Baker, specialized in “Coca-Cola” brand heroin and supplied several low-level dealers in southern Brooklyn. Baker grew wary of law enforcement scrutiny and relocated his business to a parking lot outside an Olive Garden restaurant at the Gateway shopping center in East New York. He was arrested when he went to see his parole ofﬁcer on a prior conviction. One of Baker’s customers, Oleg Kolysyuk, owned a variety store on Brighton First St. and stashed the drugs in the pockets of men’s suits and other merchandise he sold. Baker pleaded guilty and is serving a nine-year prison term. The leader of the second drug ring, Joseph Folks, supplied other dealers and conducted his drug business outside a pizza parlor in Coney Island. At the time of Folks’ arrest police searched his apartment, where a one-year-old baby was present. The ofﬁcers recovered a loaded handgun, thousands of dollars in cash and a quantity of drugs hidden in a baby wipe container. Manhattan Heroin Mill Dismantled: Search Closes Cross Bronx Expressway Authorities seized more than $1 million in heroin from a packaging mill in Washington Heights and arrested six drug trafﬁckers, who attempted to dispose of evidence by throwing drugs and guns out the windows. As law
Drug trafﬁckers sold glassines of heroin stamped with the “CocaCola” brand in Coney Island and Brighton Beach.
In a search of ﬁve Columbia University students’ rooms, police recovered quantities of drugs, including LSD, MDMA, marijuana and Adderall, as well as scales, records and thousands of dollars in cash.
enforcement agents with the New York Drug Enforcement Task Force worked to open the heavily fortiﬁed door to the heroin mill, located in an 18th ﬂoor apartment on Audubon Avenue, members of the drug ring hurled two handguns and thousands of glassine envelopes used to package heroin onto the Cross Bronx Expressway, which passes directly underneath the building. A plastic package containing a full kilogram of uncut heroin (over 2 lbs.) was also tossed from a balcony and landed on a second ﬂoor terrace. One defendant, Pedro Capellan, tried to escape by dangling from the balcony, but law enforcement agents were already positioned on another balcony below and forced him to turn back. The NYPD’s Emergency Services Unit closed the Cross Bronx Expressway and nearby George Washington Bridge for a short time in order to ensure the public’s safety and recover the contraband. Three kilograms (6 ½ lbs.) of Mexican and Colombian heroin were recovered inside the apartment. Personal Trainer Sold Cocaine on Craigslist A Brooklyn personal trainer was arrested for peddling cocaine on Craigslist in April. Kinrod Priester sold four grams of the drug to an undercover SNP investigator, who had answered an online advertisement and arranged to meet him in the Flatiron District. Investigators arrested Priester immediately after the sale and were in the process of putting handcuffs on the personal trainer when he wrestled free and tried to run towards his nearby Mercedes. He was quickly caught after he tripped over some wire tree fencing. Operation Domino Effect Topples Drug Ring in Upper Manhattan: Drugs and Firearms Seized Police arrested eight members of a sophisticated cocaine and heroin trafﬁcking ring that sold bulk quantities of drugs to distributors in New York City and along the eastern seaboard from their base in Washington Heights. On a typical day, ring members could be seen playing dominos on the sidewalk as they kept watch over their territory, where they managed to evade law enforcement for many years. During a 10-month wiretap investigation, police made 14 undercover purchases of cocaine. Search warrants executed in November yielded pounds of cocaine and heroin, two loaded handguns and drug packaging equipment. The ring’s leader, Pedro Guzman Damiani, would also accept payment from other drug organizations to repackage their drugs, using presses he stored at his home on Fort Washington Avenue. Former Beauty Queen Arrested for Forging Painkiller Prescriptions Former Miss Russia Anna Malova was arrested in May after she reﬁlled a forged prescription for Vicodin. Investigators with the Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement learned Malova had used a stolen prescription to obtain the drugs. Pharmacy employees at a drug store on Sixth Avenue in the West Village notiﬁed authorities after Malova requested the reﬁll. She was apprehended as she left the pharmacy, where she had picked up a bottle of 85 Vicodin pills. Malova had an open case based on similar charges at the time of her arrest. Those charges stemmed from the theft of another prescription pad from a different doctor in November, which she had used to obtain Vicodin and Klonipin pills from pharmacy on Fourth Avenue in the East Village.
Members of a Manhattan drug trafﬁcking crew threw kilos of heroin and ﬁrearms from the 18th ﬂoor of a building that straddled the Cross Bronx Expressway in an attempt to dispose of evidence.
Police seized pounds of cocaine and heroin and two guns as they dismantled a sophisticated drug ring that supplied customers along the eastern seaboard.
$4.25 Million Rx Drugs Stockpiled in Yonkers Nearly 6,500 bottles of illegal prescription drugs carrying a street value of $4.25 million were seized during a court authorized search of a house in Yonkers in June. DEA agents arrested two men, Hector Silvestre and Manuel Delesantos, who are suspected of stockpiling the medications for sale in the Dominican Republic. Stacks of large shipping boxes were ﬁlled with dozens of different types of medications, including many used to treat HIV patients. Drugs prescribed for asthma, depression, schizophrenia and acid reﬂux were also among those seized. The pills were packaged for bulk sale at pharmacies. Over $1 Million Seized From Marijuana Money-Laundering Ring in Little Italy In SNP’s largest cash seizure from a marijuana trafﬁcking ring, investigators recovered $1.1 million from an organization operating out of an apartment in Little Italy. Daniel McGehean, the tenant of the apartment at 153 Mulberry St., and Richard Doyon, a Canadian national, were arrested for their roles in a large-scale hydroponic pot operation as a result of an investigation with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The drug organization is suspected of moving at least 200 lbs. of marijuana from Canada to the U.S. Cash seized from the two men had been shrink-wrap and heat-sealed with packaging equipment, which was found in the apartment along with sales records. City’s First Drug Kingpin Charged under New Law: Violent Crew Arrested in The Bronx The head of a violent drug organization and 14 underlings were arrested in May for selling large quantities of cocaine and heroin in The Bronx. Jose Delorbe operated out of an apartment building that he controlled on Undercliff Avenue, where his brazen ring is believed to have sold an average of more than two pounds of cocaine and heroin each day. During the seven-month wiretap investigation, Delorbe and his crew were implicated in a Nov. 24, 2009 shoot-out with a team of suspected robbers. Members of Delorbe’s ring believed the rival group was attempting to break into one of the apartments where they stored drugs and/or money. Private surveillance cameras captured Delorbe holding a gun, while another member of his organization could be seen ﬁring a hail of bullets down the street. Delorbe is the ﬁrst New York City defendant charged under the kingpin statute, which went into effect in October 2009 and is the only felony narcotics charge that carries a potential life sentence. A search of 11 apartments at the Underhill building yielded 13 pounds of cocaine, more than a pound of heroin, approximately $175,000 in cash and two guns. The building’s superintendent was also among those charged. Williamsburg Heroin Ring Dismantled in “Operation King Me”: Seven Charged Eight members of a brazen drug trafﬁcking ring that cornered the heroin market in a section of North Williamsburg, Brooklyn were arrested in November. The defendants peddled heroin and crack in bodegas, apartments, lobbies and on street corners in the vicinity of the Cooper Park Houses, a New
More than $4 million in illegal prescription drugs bound for the Dominican Republic was seized from a house in Yonkers.
A violent drug trafﬁcking ring was implicated in a shoot-out on a Bronx street, after members of the crew were caught on videotape arming themselves and opening ﬁre in a bid to protect their turf.
York City Housing Authority Development, and catered to customers from surrounding neighborhoods. The charges stem from more than 20 sales to undercover ofﬁcers with the NYPD’s Brooklyn North Narcotics Bureau. Notorious for selling narcotics in open view, members of the ring appeared in Google Maps Street View photographs that depict one of their regular drug spots in front of a bodega at the intersection of Jackson Street and Kingsland Avenue. All of the undercover drug transactions took place within 1,000 feet of a preschool. The group was the subject of numerous community complaints. SoHo Couple Peddled Crack A couple that sold crack out of their basement apartment on a bustling block in SoHo was arrested in May following a long-term investigation. Antonio and Mary Henriques, who had been in the business of selling crack for at least three months, were the subject of community complaints at the time of their arrests. Undercover ofﬁcers made numerous drug purchases from the couple and recorded some of the transactions on videotape. Buyers would line up early in the morning at the drug spot located close to designer shops and upscale apartment buildings. The couple’s conduct was so blatant, they could be seen selling crack in plain view to three customers on the very morning that detectives arrived to arrest them. Twelve Drug Dealers Arrested at Brooklyn’s Tompkins Houses Four loosely-tied drug trafﬁcking rings made over 100 sales of crack-cocaine and heroin to undercover ofﬁcers and were dismantled in July. Police arrested 12 drug dealers who operated in and around the Tompkins Houses, a NYCHA Housing Development in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. Drug sales were carried out in the lobbies, stairwells, elevators and hallways of the buildings. Members of the four groups would refer customers to one another. In a court authorized search of one apartment that was used as a stash house and located a few blocks away from the Tompkins Houses, police found a loaded ﬁrearm and 33 zip lock bags of crack.
Drug dealers spent so much time in front of a bodega in Williamsburg that they appeared in the Google Maps Street View images for the location. (Photo Courtesy of the New York Post)
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