Reporting Stan Brooks
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – This was a bad week to a be drug dealer in New York City, according to Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.
The NYPD arrested 140 suspects since Monday in four of the five boroughs in a series of raids targeting drug rings.
In Manhattan, District Attorney Cy Vance is using the drug kingpin statute to prosecute a drug delivery ring in East Harlem which operated like a neighborhood dry cleaner or pizzeria and even had business cards and delivery cars. Twenty two people were arrested.
The statute is also being used to prosecute the suspected Manhattan ringleader, Ceferino “Papo” Perez and his two accused lieutenants. Perez, 44, is being held without bail after pleading not guilty.
1010 WINS’ Stan Brooks reports: A Bad Week For Drug Dealers
“Instead of shirts and slices these criminals were moving cocaine and cash,” Kelly said.
The East Harlem group had delivery workers organized in two eight-hour shifts a day, equipped with cellphones, “company” cars and business cards coyly emblazoned with “General Electronics” and a phone number for customers to call, authorities said. During a 45-day stretch this spring, the group sold 4,200 bags of powder cocaine for a total of about $80,000, prosecutors said.
“This is one of those rare occasions where, from top to bottom, this organization is now gone,” said Vance, standing in front of a table strewn with some of the $550,000 in cash, $600,000 in jewelry, guns, drug-dealing paraphernalia and photos of some of the nine vehicles — including a Mercedes, a Land Rover and a custom-made motorcycle — seized during the investigation. Authorities also collected more than two kilograms of cocaine and six pounds of marijuana.
Authorities said Perez has been in the business for a quarter-century, but he was so wary — frequently replacing the organization’s cars to keep police from noticing them, for instance — that only in the last year did arrests and other breaks allow police to build the case through wiretaps and other means, authorities said.
Police found a “Scarface” photo on Perez’s nightstand when they searched his apartment in suburban Yonkers on Wednesday.
In Far Rockaway, detectives also confiscated 12 handguns, six kilograms of cocaine, heroin and marijuana, a kilo-press used to package cocaine, a bullet proof vest and $35,000 in cash from an alleged drug ring, Kelly announced.
The Queens bust yielded 56 arrests with crimes ranging from attempted murder to weapons possession. Of those, 30 — mostly customers — have pleaded guilty to various charges including drug possession and disorderly conduct. The bust also gutted a street crew called the Gang of Apes that terrorized the Far Rockaway neighborhood; 18 suspected members were arrested, officials said. The gang gained power after police dismantled its predecessor.
There were also 30 drug arrests on Staten Island. And in the Bronx, District Attorney Robert Johnson announced that 40 people were indicted after a two-year drug investigation.
Do you feel safer after the raids? Let us know below