More Than 2 Dozen Arrested; Near Year-Long Investigation Hits The Jackpot

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A Staten Island bagel store is suspected of being the home of illegal prescription drug sales.

As CBS 2’s Mark Morgan found out, 25 people have been arrested and the deli has been shut down.

When John McVay came to buy a newspaper at Nel-Boy Bagels in Great Kills on Monday, he was surprised to find the deli closed, and stunned when Morgan told him more than two-dozen people were arrested, including owner Syed Rashid, for using the deli to sell prescription pills, and illegal drugs such as heroine, cocaine and marijuana.

“I’ve come in here a few times to buy lottery tickets and stuff, and I had no idea this was going on at all. This is like a shock because in this neighborhood? I don’t hear any of that stuff,” McVay said.

Cops said oxycodone fetched $20 a pill, and that undercover officers were able to buy 2,500 of them. Police said they were also able to buy hundreds of Percocet and Xanax pills. Police also reportedly were able to purchase a Tec-9 submachine gun and a 9mm pistol, though they were not directly tied to the deli.

“I’m extremely in shock that there are drugs in the neighborhood, especially out of a deli where there’s a lot of children around,” added Allison Capponi of Richmondtown.

The investigation began last fall, anchored by the combined effort of the Richmond County district attorney and Councilman Vincent Ignizio’s office. Their goal: to rid the area of a growing problem.

“This is a national epidemic that we’re all on our heels trying to fight, and the way you do it is like everything else, you chop at it little by little,” Ignizio said.

One store owner across Amboy Road, near Nelson Avenue, told Morgan he always thought something wasn’t right in the deli, and the arrests come as no surprise to him. Otto Friedlander said he would see many teenagers hanging out in the deli, and he thought it was odd that no one seemed to ever buy anything, and shelves weren’t stocked.

“When somebody opens a store without stock, you want to know why. So, it’s not a surprise. It was coming. It was inevitable, and you know what? Good riddance,” Friedlander said.

Great Kills residents welcomed the opening salvo in what could be a long battle against the illicit sale of prescription drugs.

In the last three years investigations into the illegal sales of prescription drugs have resulted in more than 80 arrests on Staten Island.

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