Eight people accused of selling crack cocaine around Times Square, Manhattan, were arrested on Monday due to undercover investigative work by the HSI (Homeland Security Investigations) and the NYPD.
All the eight individuals are in their 30s and 40s, and are accused of running a 24-hour drug-dealing ring.
“As alleged, the defendants operated a veritable 24-hour open-air bazaar for the sale of crack cocaine in Times Square. We recall the bad old days of a much seedier Times Square that was unwelcoming, and we are committed to working with our law enforcement partners to ensure that those days remain just a memory,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said.
The individuals are facing a minimum sentence of 10 years in jail and a maximum of life sentence, however, the final decision will be left to the judge.
The indictment, which was unsealed in a Manhattan federal court on Tuesday, alleges that the defendants were operating, at least from December 2019 to August 2021, an all-day-long marketplace for crack cocaine near 43rd Street and 8th Avenue, which is close to Times Square.
Two of the defendants were often on a morning “shift” and others on a later one, although it wasn’t a set pattern.
A two year long investigation in the #timesquare section of #Manhattan by Manhattan South Narcotics Detectives along with @HSINewYork has come to an end with multiple arrests and large amounts of narcotics being seized. pic.twitter.com/efg4dxHfqx
— Chief James Essig (@NYPDDetectives) August 10, 2021
The indictment asserts that undercover law enforcement managed to buy crack cocaine from them on “dozens of occasions” including numerous acquisitions from each of the accused individuals, furthermore, that police surveillance exposed practically non-stop sales from early morning to nighttime.
Authorities said that the undercover work showed them making hundreds of hand-to-hand sales of the highly addictive and hazardous substances.
“Our officers work night and day to keep every corner of New York free from the scourge of illegal narcotics, including in the crossroads of the world,” NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said.
“Today’s federal indictment highlights the continuing commitment our NYPD investigators, prosecutors from the United States Attorney’s Office from the Southern District of New York and law enforcement partners have to that continuing mission,” he said.