NYPD takes down cocaine-delivery ring
Dozens of alleged drug dealers who delivered cocaine to investment bankers, college students and public housing residents have been arrested in an NYPD sting operation, officials said.
In total, 41 members of three drug crews operating out of city public housing in Manhattan were indicted. They offered doorstep delivery, NYPD officials and state prosecutors said Friday.
"As this indictment reveals, residents of Manhattan today can get nearly everything delivered," said Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance. "From dinner to dry cleaning, and even cocaine."
The crews used livery drivers to make deliveries of cocaine, which had been marked up to more than twice the normal street value, Vance said.
Customers could buy small packets of cocaine for as little as $120 or pay $5,600 for four ounces, officials said.
"At a minimum, $1.2 million worth of cocaine was sold over the course of the two-year investigation," NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly said.
"Cocaine was delivered by runners who were dropped at customers' doorsteps by a network of livery cabdrivers who were also in on the action," he said.
Asked whether drug deliveries were made to investment houses or locations on Wall Street, Kelly did not offer specifics. He said the investigation into the ring's various customers was continuing. He said there would be more arrests.
Vance said wiretapped conversations indicated that there was discussion about using superstorm Sandy rent-rebate money to buy drugs, but there was no evidence of that actually happening.
Four people were charged under the state drug kingpin law, which carries a maximum life prison term. They include Adrian "Ace" Rivera, 24, of Baruch House in Manhattan, who allegedly sold cocaine to undercover detectives and was popular on social media sites flashing money, Kelly said.
Rivera's activity led investigators to target the three drug rings: Blocc Boyz, Money Boyz and Cash is King, Kelly said.
A key to making the case was the use of search warrants to get information from Facebook and other social media accounts, said Kelly, who explained that most of those arrested, including a number of young women, knew each other from high school.
Most of those arrested were charged with selling drugs and conspiracy.