NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Eighteen men are facing conspiracy and drug-related charges for allegedly selling crack cocaine and marijuana in East Harlem.
The defendants allegedly packaged and sold the drugs in candy wrappers called “Sour Power” near East 118th Street and Lexington Avenue.
“They sold out of a private apartment building and out of a bodega and on the street,” prosecutor Karen Friedman Agnifilo said, adding that the drug sales brought an increase in gun violence to the neighborhood. “District Attorney Vance wants to give these people their community back.”
Since January 2011, there have been five fatal shootings and 22 non-fatal shootings in the area, 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria reported.
“Areas where there is a high prevalence of drug sales are often breeding grounds for violence,” District Attorney Cyrus Vance said in a statement.
Vance said this is the seventh drug crew his office has taken down in a little over a year.
NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly said the defendants in the case also “armed themselves with illegal guns and were associates of [the] defendant in a shooting that killed a young man last summer.”
The defendants who range in age from 18 to 48 face several charges including criminal sale of marijuana, criminal possession of a weapon and conspiracy.