A Farmingdale man stands accused of running a “lucrative drug delivery service” in Brooklyn that used a Bushwick deli as a stash house and a fleet of livery cars to bring cocaine to customers, according to prosecutors with a Manhattan-based narcotics unit.
A court-authorized search on Oct. 19 of the Rose Court home of Edgar Rodriguez, 49, resulted in the seizure of $300,000 in cash, a .380-caliber pistol, ammunition and nearly 2 pounds of cocaine “worth approximately $50,000 wholesale,” said a news release from the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor for the City of New York.
Rodriguez, among five defendants arrested Oct. 19 in connection with the drug ring, faces charges of first-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, second-degree, third-degree and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon, criminal possession of a firearm and second-degree criminally using drug paraphernalia, prosecutors said.
Also arrested were Jose Montalvo-Marti, 41, of Brooklyn; Anthony Quinones, 33, of Brooklyn; Angela Martinez, 50, of Ozone Park, Queens; and Reymin Miguel Duran Reyes, 26, of Brooklyn. All face drug-related charges, including conspiracy, authorities said.
The five defendants have been held since their initial arraignments during the past two weeks on conspiracy charges, with Rodriguez held on $450,000 bail. All pleaded not guilty to conspiracy, but face more charges under the indictment. Information on arraignments of the five off the latest indictment was not available Tuesday night.
Rodriguez and the other defendants are charged “in connection with possessing and distributing a total of more than $70,000 in cocaine” wholesale during the investigation, dubbed “Operation CityLine,” according to the Monday news release.
Since last December, authorities said, the defendants sold approximately $20,000 in cocaine during three-dozen transactions with NYPD Brooklyn North undercover narcotics detectives. Additional evidence was gathered through court-authorized wiretaps and the assistance of Nassau police, authorities said.
Almost two-thirds of the undercover sales “were conducted by members of the Rodriguez organization,” authorities said in the news release, adding that Rodriguez “oversaw a fleet of registered livery cars” that “took no fares” despite having official Department of Transportation plates.
Officials said Rodriguez deployed the cars solely to sell narcotics and customers entered the cars, which traveled “a short distance” while the drug transactions took place.
Those livery drivers employed by Rodriguez “took orders for cocaine by cellphone” and made deliveries, daylong, with drivers — and Rodriguez — receiving “up to” 100 orders a day, authorities said.
After 8 p.m., authorities said, Rodriguez often “took over handling calls” while making deliveries in “a nondescript Nissan.” The investigation revealed Rodriguez made about $28,000 a week, using the Nana Deli, a business he operated from 182 Wilson Ave. in Bushwick, as his drug “stash house.”
During their investigation, NYPD detectives “observed Rodriguez carrying black plastic bags” that they “believed contained cocaine and cash” between his car and the deli, the release said.
On Oct. 17, authorities said, an undercover officer “purchased cocaine from Rodriguez” at the deli.
The subsequent search of Rodriguez’s Farmingdale home also recovered four bedroom safes, which contained about 2 pounds of cocaine. The search also resulted in the seizure of about three-dozen cellphones and drug packaging materials, including scales, bags and a money counter.
“This organization was wide-ranging and resourceful — using registered livery cabs and selling cocaine as ‘candy’ at a neighborhood deli,” said Bridget G. Brennan, New York City’s special narcotics prosecutor, in the release, adding that the “highly-organized narcotics caterer stoked violence and addiction. Brooklyn neighborhoods are safer now that the delivery service has been put out of business.”