The Manhattan District Attorney and NYPD say they’ve busted a Lower East Side-based drug delivery service that sold more than $75,000 in cocaine across the city. They made the announcement in a news conference a short time ago.
Three alleged narcotics traffickers were indicted after a lengthy investigation. According to a press release, “The individuals, based on the Lower East Side, are charged with using livery services to deliver cocaine to customers throughout Manhattan.”
Kenny Hernandez, 35, was charged in state supreme court under the “Drug Kingpin Statute” as a “major trafficker.” He was also charged in connection with more than 100 individual sales of cocaine. All three defendants were charged with second degree conspiracy and criminal sale of a controlled substance.
In a statement, DA Cy Vance said, “Drug dealers profit by sowing seeds of addiction that destroy lives, families, and communities.” Police Commissioner Bill Bratton added, “Selling cocaine in a variety of bars and clubs throughout Manhattan, the ringleader also allegedly sold to NYPD undercover (officers) on more than a dozen instances.”
Here’s more from the press release:
According to the indictments and statements made on the record in court, the alleged ringleader, HERNANDEZ, and co-conspirators FELIX NUNEZ, a/k/a “Jake,” 27, and OSCAR ALMONTE, 29, are charged with operating a major cocaine trafficking ring based on the Lower East Side, where the defendants reside. Beginning in June 2015, the defendants are charged with obtaining, transporting, processing, packaging, selling, and delivering large quantities of powder cocaine to customers throughout Manhattan. HERNANDEZ oversaw the ring and personally conducted the vast majority of the sales, including eleven separate sales to undercover detectives. Eighteen of the ring’s repeat customers are charged in a separate indictment for purchasing varying quantities of cocaine. As detailed in the indictment, members of the ring allegedly used car services to deliver the drugs to buyers, including to delis, restaurants, bars, apartments, hotels, and the buyers’ workplaces. The defendants delivered to locations across Manhattan, including the Lower East Side, the Upper East Side, Chelsea, the Financial District, and Midtown, as well as areas of Brooklyn and Queens. Many of the sales took place in delis or Duane Reade and CVS pharmacies. Customers generally paid between $200 and $300 per transaction.
More to come…
UPDATE 4:47 p.m. Here’s more from the Daily News:
Three members of a major cocaine trafficking ring that used Duane Reade stores to conduct sales over the past year were indicted Thursday in a takedown that also included 18 customers… Among the indicted customers were white collar cokeheads — including a Fox Business producer, Chipotle executive and Merrill Lynch employee, papers showed. Vance called them “key repeat customers.” … The investigation began in May 2015 when one of the ring’s customers, 29-year-old investment banker Thomas Hughes, jumped from the roof of his building at 1 West St. in Lower Manhattan and killed himself. Cops found cocaine in his apartment, and found his dealer’s number on his cell phone. That investigation uncovered customers looking for coke not found in the beverage section. Katie Welnhofer, 29, who works on ‘Mornings with Maria’ on Fox Business, was arraigned in Manhattan Supreme Court on charges of possession of a controlled substance. Prosecutors said she had the drugs delivered to her Chelsea apartment… Mark Crumpacker, the Chief Creative and Development Officer at Chipotle, was also indicted, though it was unclear if he was already in custody… Christopher Dodson, who works as a client associate at Merrill Lynch, was also held on $30,000 bond on charges of buying $7,600 in cocaine.