DA: 45 Drug Dealers Down, 7 To Go
AThe Wave, police officers from various local and citywide units fanned out in the Far Rockaway area on Wednesday and Thursday, October 3 and 4, in a drug sweep that officials call "unprecedented" in that area.
In that sweep, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said, "28 alleged drug dealers and some two dozen others were arrested for selling drugs in and around the New York City Housing Authority's Redfern Houses and the privately owned Dix McBride Apartments, both in Far Rockaway. Forty-five of the individuals charged are in custody and the remaining seven individuals are being sought."
The defendants - who range in age from 17 to 54 and who include one purported member each of the Bloods and Crips street gangs - were charged with selling crack and powdered cocaine and marijuana to undercover police officers on more than 200 separate occasions over a seven-month period.
Brown said, "This initiative - known as Redfern II - is another in our continuing campaign to stop the plague of drug-dealing and drug-based violence in the Far Rockaway [community]. The quality of life of the residents of Far Rockaway has always been among my chief concerns as District Attorney. These arrests should put another dent in the drug trafficking and drug-related violence, which has long plagued the residents of Far Rockaway. We will continue to work together with our police officers and our elected public officials and community leaders to keep the residents - and particularly the children - of Far Rockaway safe, and to help provide them with a better quality of life."
Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said, "Our officers have persisted in returning time and again to areas where drug dealers have tried to gain a foothold. Whether it's Rockaway, or elsewhere;,public housing or private, they have been steadfast in attacking the problem and making arrests. Their resolve helps explain why New York City continues to experience record declines in crime, bucking a national trend."
Brown added, "This is not alleged to be a well-organized group of drug dealers but an infestation of individual drug peddlers - some of whom worked together - who descended on the Redfern and Dix McBride Houses and who operated an open-air drug market. Almost half of the defendants charged today live outside the two housing developments. Their only purpose for coming to the developments is alleged to have been to sell their drugs. For years, the residents of these developments have been subjected to and held hostage by drug dealers and their customers who operated with impunity in the developments' courtyards - at times in full view of children. In fact, nearly onequarter of the sales charged today allegedly occurred near a day care center attended by children between the ages of two and five. There, brazen dealers mistakenly thought that they were operating under wraps when they allegedly sold their illicit drugs to undercover officers. In fact, however, they were under investigation and marked for arrest, prosecution and long prison sentences."
Officials say that the investigation began in January, when detectives assigned to the NYPD's Queens Narcotics Division received information regarding drug dealers and drugrelated violence in the vicinity of the Redfern Houses and the Dix McBride Apartments.
In response, the NYPD's Queens Narcotics Division and District Attorney Brown's Narcotics Investigation Bureau dispatched numerous undercover officers to purchase crack and powdered cocaine and marijuana. During the course of the investigation, undercover officers purchased narcotics and marijuana on 209 separate occasions.
Brown added that sixty of these alleged sales occurred near the Rockaway Child Care Center, a day care facility located at 14-66 Beach Channel Drive. The Center, which is operated by the City's Administration for Children's Services, cares for 45 children between the ages of two and five. Fourteen of the forty-five defendants arrested are charged with selling drugs near school grounds.
Under the Trespass Notice Program, which is part of Mayor Bloomberg's Operation Safe Housing initiative that went into effect in January 2005, nonresident suspects arrested for drug dealing on public housing grounds receive a notice informing them that they are banned from New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) property anywhere in the City and will be arrested if they return. If the suspected drug dealer is a NYCHA resident, an eviction proceeding will commence and when completed, the dealer will be forced to leave his or her apartment. Of the forty-five defendants arrested today, eighteen have been charged with Trespass Affidavits and seven locations have been targeted for eviction proceedings.
Brown noted that since January 2007, there have been eight individuals wounded in seven separate shooting incidents in and around the Redfern/ Dix McBride area. One victim, Rayquan Elliot, also known as "Stack Bundles," an aspiring rapper, was killed.
In addition to the arrests made yesterday, officers executed nine courtauthorized search warrants and recovered two loaded handguns, two air rifles, a gravity knife, various quantities of cocaine and marijuana and assorted drug paraphernalia, including four crack pipes.
The Redfern Houses, located at 14-60 Beach Channel Drive in Far Rockaway, are part of the New York City Housing Authority's network of housing developments. The Redfern Houses complex was completed in 1959 and consists of nine buildings, six- and seven-stories-tall, housing approximately 1660 residents in 602 apartments. The Dix McBride Apartments, a privately owned building complex, is located at 2229-2259 Dix Avenue in Far Rockaway and was built in 1998.
The defendants are variously charged with numerous counts of Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree, a Class B felony punishable by up to nine years in prison; Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree, a Class C felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison; Criminal Sale of Marijuana in the Fourth Degree, Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Seventh Degree, Criminally Using Drug Paraphernalia and Obstructing Governmental Administration, a Class Amisdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail, and Unlawful Possession of Marijuana and Disorderly Conduct, violations punishable by a fine of up to $100.
In announcing the names of those arrested in the sweep, a spokesperson for Brown said that the top count against the majority of the defendants is third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance, a Class B felony punishable by up to nine years in prison.
Those who were found with a weapon in their possession were charged with both third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance (Class B felony) and second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, a Class C felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
According to a spokesperson for the district attorney, the following were arrested in the drug sweep in Far Rockaway: Denin Arce, 29, of 14-78 Beach Channel Drive; Keith Ashley, 40, of 14-60 Beach Channel Drive; Thomas Bailey, 45, of 14-76 Beach Channel Drive; Martina Bigelow, 39, 22-29 Dix Avenue; Dorothea Boyd, 43, of 22-59 Dix Avenue; Angie Bradford, 42, who lives at 14-76 Beach Channel Drive; Esau Brit, 49, 14-32 Pinson Street; Robert Burtis, 54, who lives at 14-76 Beach Channel Drive; John Campbell, 38, 11-01 McBride Street; Branden Carter, 24, 10-027 Deliact Street, Queens; David Colon, 47, 390 9th Avenue in Manhattan; Sharmarlay Creque, 22, 12-13 Neilson Street in Far Rockaway; Shante Davis, 19, 22-51 Dix Avenue; Theresa Davis, 38, 265 Fernside Place; Renee Douglas, 46, of 313 86 Street in Brooklyn; Tommy Graham, 53, of 14-76 Beach Channel Drive; Shireleen Green, 38, 15-40 Hassock Street; Kevin Harvey, 40, of 15-30 Hassock Street; Andre Headley, 23, 14-68 Beach Channel Drive; Jalila Hogan, 22, of 14-78 Beach Channel Drive; Eric Hughes, 37, 14-72 Beach Channel Drive; Ida Johnson (information unavailable); Rauwshan Johnson, 26, 51-45 Almeda Avenue, who is purported to be a Bloods gang member; Barbara Labady, 21, 991 Hancock Street; Torri McCaw, 43, 14-76 Beach Channel Drive; Sheldon McIver, 44, 473 Christopher Avenue in Brooklyn; Anthony McKellar, 41, 22-88 Mott Avenue; Devone Meadows, 20, 16 Scott Gedal Place; Malcolm Milton, 18, 15-30 Hancock Street; Betty Moore, 44, of 12- 10 Redfern Avenue; Lorraine Padgette, aka Lauren Holmes (information unavailable); Tawana Pedlar, 45, 250 Beach 15 Street; Oheem Rabsatt, 26, 12-13 Neilson Street; Marcus Raiford, 18, 86 Elliot Place in Queens; Brian Rogers, 38, 22-51 Dix Avenue; Andre Samuda, 20, 29-44 Bayswater Avenue; Dante Stanly, 17, of 249 Beach 15 Street, who is purported to be a Crips gang member; Tiffany Stanley, 19, 145- 16 243 Street in Queens; Isaiah Summers, 18, 1035 Beach 32 Street; Vincent Thomas, 47, 12-50 Redfern Avenue; Daniel Torbio, 26 of 15-50 Hassock Street; Pia Turner, 35, 15-30 Hassock Street; Ayana Wise, 25, of 15-40 Hassock Street; Shahene Wise, 45, 15- 40 Hassock Street; and Monica Zeigler, 45, 13-73 Beach Channel Drive.
All face future court dates in Queens Supreme Court on their charges.