Lower East Side Crack Cocaine Ring Busted

By Sarah Matheson, Epoch Times
October 16, 2013 Updated: October 16, 2013

NEW YORK—Eleven people allegedly involved in a large-scale crack cocaine trafficking operation on Lower East Side have been arrested.

The group ran their operations from the Jacob Riis Houses on the Lower East Side for several years, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. said in a statement on Oct. 15. 

“Drug dealers have no place in public housing,” Vance said. “Thanks to the heroic work of an undercover officer who managed to infiltrate this organization at its highest level. The drug dealing stops today.”

According to the indictment, since early 2012, the defendants sold large quantities of crack cocaine to customers in and around the housing development between East 8th and East 13th streets bounded by Avenue D and Franklin Delano Roosevelt Drive. 

The leader of the drug ring and the supplier are alleged to have met frequently to exchange drugs for cash, including at a Starbucks in Midtown Manhattan.

According to statements made on the record in court, the drug ring spent the proceeds of their operation on expensive vehicles, including Mercedes automobiles, and other luxury items.

All of the defendants are charged with conspiracy in the second degree, as well as other drug-related crimes.

The indictment follows a 21-month investigation by the district attorney’s office and the NYPD’s Narcotics Bureau.

Investigators used a variety of techniques, including undercover operations, physical surveillance, and court-authorized electronic eavesdropping. 

Jacob Riis Houses comprises 13 buildings, with 1,187 apartments housing some 2,903 residents. The neighboring Jacob Riis II has six buildings, with 577 apartments housing some 1,402 people.