What to Know
- A multi-state cocaine distribution ring based in an Upper West Side apartment was broken up; six people were arrested
- Officials say the ring distributed multi-kilogram quantities of cocaine on a monthly basis in NYC, New Jersey and Pennsylvania
- Each of those monthly distributions was estimated to have a street worth of about $1 million
A multi-state cocaine distribution ring based in an Upper West Side apartment was disrupted with the arrests of six individuals on state narcotics charges, law enforcement officials said Thursday.
Gerardo Gonzalez and five others are accused of using an apartment on Columbus Avenue to distribute multi-kilogram quantities of cocaine on a monthly basis in New York City, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, the officials say.
Each of those monthly distributions was estimated to have a street worth of about $1 million.
The eight-month investigation by a DEA task force and the NYC Special Narcotics Prosecutor’s Office included wiretaps and physical surveillance of Gonzalez meeting with drug customers and suppliers on the street and in vehicles near the Columbus Avenue apartment.
Gonzalez was seen by investigators handing off bags of suspected narcotics to customers in vehicles with license plates from New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Washington, DC, authorities say.
Prosecutors say the ring is estimated to have sold up to 10 kilograms of cocaine per week, charging approximately $30,000 per kilogram.
Gonzalez and the other defendants, Eric Espinal, Socrates Santana, Vance Hall, Jose Martinez, and Xiongbin Zhao, were arrested over the past several weeks. Over the course of the probe, multiple kilograms of cocaine, marijuana, and about $270,000 in cash were seized by investigators.
“This investigation dismantled a significant cocaine supply ring in our city with ties to New Jersey, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania,” DEA Special Agent in Charge James Hunt said.
“As this case demonstrates, no neighborhood is too sedate for drug traffickers,” Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget Brennan said. “As we have seen before, a familiar, quiet residential neighborhood is attractive real estate to a drug dealer who wants to lay low, avoid detection by law enforcement and escape the notice of stick up crews who might view him as an easy mark for robbery.”
All six defendants were expected to appear in New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan later Thursday, prosecutors say. Attorney information wasn't immediately available.