More than 60 people face charges in connection with a large-scale narcotics investigation following a six-month undercover operation at two housing complexes in Queens, the District Attorney's office announced today.
Fourteen people were indicted and 48 others arrested as part of the probe at the Baisley Park Housing Development and Rochdale Village complexes in Jamaica, District Attorney Richard Brown and Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said.
The defendants, who range in age from 16 to 62, are charged with selling powdered and crack cocaine, heroin, marijuana, oxycodone, ecstasy and other drugs to undercover cops on hundreds of separate occasions over a six-month period in and around the housing developments, according to the District Attorney's office.
Ten of the defendants are charged with selling drugs within a drug-free school zone.
The District Attorney's office did not have information on whether any of the defendants had lawyers.
"These arrests – and the seizure of drugs, guns and other contraband resulting from this investigation – should serve as a warning to both drug dealers and violent criminals alike that the law enforcement community – in spite of the City's economic difficulties – will continue to aggressively track down those individuals who traffic in drugs and seek to put them in prison for long period of time," District Attorney Brown said in a statement.
Commissioner Kelly added that the arrests demonstrate the persistent efforts of police and prosecutors to curb drug trafficking in public housing complexes to improve the quality of life for law-abiding residents in the developments.
The investigation began in August 2010 when detectives assigned to the NYPD’s Queens Narcotics Division received information that drug dealers were engaged in operations around the housing complexes, according to the DA's office.
During the course of the investigation, undercover officers allegedly purchased narcotics, controlled substances and marijuana on hundreds of separate occasions – including 33 sales within 1,000 feet of P.S. 72 on Guy Brewer Boulevard, P.S. 123 on 119th Avenue, and John Adams Annex-Jump Start Academy, on 141st Street, officials said. Other alleged drug sale locations included the Popeye’s restaurant parking lot at 122nd Street and Guy Brewer Boulevard and the Walgreens pharmacy parking lot on Farmers Boulevard.
Along with the arrests, officers executed 14 court-authorized search warrants and allegedly seized a total of 60 pounds of marijuana, more than four ounces of cocaine and other narcotics, about $30,000 in cash, and seven weapons. Six vehicles were also seized in connection with the investigation.
The defendants face a variety of felony charges, including first-, second- and third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance, criminal possession of a weapon and criminal sale of a controlled substance in or near school grounds. The combined charges carry a maximum penalty of more than 50 years behind bars. Some of those arrested also face a misdemeanor charge of criminal sale of marijuana, punishable by up to a year in jail.