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Stanton Street Shooter Also Implicated in Coke Ring

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Mug shots of the suspects were displayed at the District Attorney's press conference last month.
Mug shots of the suspects were displayed at the District Attorney’s press conference last month.

As we reported yesterday, a jury has found Lower East Side resident Mario Rodriguez, 25,  guilty of attempted murder and other charges in connection with the shootings of three people on Stanton Street in 2010.  It turns out Rodriguez has other legal problems, as well.  The District Attorney’s office confirms he is one of 41 suspects busted last month for their alleged involvement in a cocaine delivery service.

The D.A. alleges that the service, operating out of three LES public housing developments, used car services and text messages to sell more than $1 million in coke over a two-year period.  Rodriguez, allegedly a member of “Cash is King,” a local gang, was charged with conspiracy in the second degree.  While other suspects are considered “bigger fish” by investigators, the indictment made public last month includes several references to Rodriguez.

On a few occasions, prosecutors said, he appeared in Facebook posts and on YouTube, flashing money and hanging out with other alleged drug dealers. Cops initially became aware of the delivery service after multiple suspects boasted on several social media services about the lavish lifestyles they were living.  The indictment states that Rodriguez was involved in several recorded phone conversations from the Rikers Island jail complex.  In one conversation that took place in 2012, prosecutors reported, he advised another defendant about to begin a prison term to “have his business affairs in order” and to decide, “who you’re going to give that phone to.”

In the Stanton Street shooting, the jury concluded that Rodriguez shot another man, after an argument, and also wounded two bystanders. All three victims survived.  In a statement released last month, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said, “Many of the suspects in (the cocaine) case have violent histories, including murder, manslaughter, and gang assault. There also are unsolved shootings which we believe involve retaliatory violence among street crews on the Lower East Side.”

The “Cash is King” gang was part of another group called the “Blocc Boyz,” prosecutors said, based out of the Baruch and Riis houses.



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