2001-03-03 / Front Page

Cops ‘Crack’ Down On Local Drug Operation; 10 Charged In Connection, Two On The Loose

Cops ‘Crack’ Down On Local Drug Operation;
10 Charged In Connection, Two On The Loose

Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown recently announced the indictment of 10 individuals in connection with a lucrative drug operation that sold cocaine to street dealers in Far Rockaway out of two seemingly legitimate stores on Mott Avenue. Six of those indicted are street dealers and four defendants are charged with owning and/or operating the stores. One of the principals in the business and one of his employees are fugitives for whom warrants have been issued.

District Attorney Brown said, "According to the indictment, the owners of Reyes Music store on Mott Avenue in Far Rockaway and a variety store next door to it were in the business of selling multi-ounce packages over the phone and in person. The dealers would pick up the cocaine at stores, divide it up, repackage it and sell it on the streets of the Far Rockaway community. This is the kind of mid-level drug supply operation that has infected some of our neighborhoods ensnaring young people into addiction and exposing those communities to violence."

According to the charges, Reyes Music, which is located at 19-19 Mott Avenue, was owned and operated by Jose Reyes, 30, formerly of Brooklyn and Francisco Salazaar, 37, formerly of the Bronx. The defendant Carlos Duran, 18, formerly of Brooklyn, is alleged to have been in charge of the day-to-day operations of Reyes Music and Miguel Diaz, 24, formerly of Brooklyn, allegedly ran the variety store. The defendants Jose Reyes and Carlos Diaz are fugitives who now reside in the Dominican Republic.

It is alleged that from March 4, 2000 to November 9, 2000 that defendants sold over a pound of cocaine to customers like the defendants Gidron, Nwajei, Edwards, Gonzalez, and others in 15 separate transactions. In addition, it is charged that on September 29, 2000 the defendant Carlos Duran sold a .22 calibur semi automatic handgun and 46 round to an individual for $800. At the time of the sale, Duran and an associate told the person where they could obtain more firearms.

District Attorney Brown said, "During the course of our investigation it became apparent that although the store shelves were stocked with merchandise and the defendants were careful to give clients CDs to carry out of the store, the true nature of their business was that of selling substantial quantities of cocaine. Our investigation revealed that the stores, particularly Reyes Music, conducted booming business serving up to 40 customers a day, many purchasing as much as two ounces. Indeed, the dealers controlling the stores often bragged that they didn’t sell ‘small stuff.’" Brown noted that two ounces of cocaine can be cut into 4,250 glassine envelopes or vials of crack worth $10 a piece on the street.

District Attorney Brown identified the alleged street dealers indicted today as, Gene Gidron, Hempstead; Peter Nwajei, Far Rockaway; Richard Gonzalez, Rockaway Beach; Michael Morales, Long Beach; and Willie Bryant, Far Rockaway. All of the defendants are charged with various counts of criminal sale and/or possession of a controlled substance and conspiracy and face maximum sentences ranging from 25 years to life in prison to up to eight to 15 years in prison.

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