By Daniel Massey
A Jamaica Estates actor who had a bit part as a uniformed New York City police officer in the 2000 movie “Shaft” was charged with playing a starring role in a $1 million dollar a year operation that supplied cocaine, marijuana and other illegal drugs to hundreds of working class customers in southeast Queens, District Attorney Richard Brown announced Tuesday.
Actor Jonathan “Jiggy” Kidane, 35, allegedly ran the drug ring ran out of his Jamaica Estates apartment, supplying distributors with cocaine, marijuana, heroin and ecstasy that were sold to customers in southeast Queens and western Nassau County, with a particular focus on the sprawling middle class cooperative housing development Rochdale Village, the DA said.
“If convicted, he’s going to find himself cast in a new role—that of prison inmate,” Brown said at a news conference in Kew Gardens Tuesday afternoon.
In addition to Kidane, who lives at 172-90 Highland Avenue in Jamaica Estates, the DA charged four other defendants in connection with the ring. Robert Miller, 35, of 187-08 Ludlum Avenue in Jamaica, the alleged Rochdale Village distributor; Winston Gillete, 34, of Valley Stream, an alleged distributor in southeast Queens; Carlton Baugh, 48, of 100-22 202nd. St. in Hollis, another alleged distributor; and Eyolanda Crocker, 31, of 187-08 Ludlum Avenue in Jamaica, Miller’s girlfriend.
Kidane and the four other defendants face charges of conspiracy, criminal sale and criminal possession of a controlled substance and criminal possession of a weapon. Kidane faces 25 years to life, if convicted.
He pleaded not guilty in Queens Criminal Court, and a further court date was scheduled for May 23, said a spokeswoman for DA Brown.
The investigation, which began 14 months ago and is ongoing, alleges that Kidane used his Jamaica Estates apartment and his father’s house at 233-08 Mentone Avenue in Rosedale as warehouses where shipments of cocaine, marijuana, heroin and Ecstasy pills were processed, prepared and packaged, Brown said.
The DA said that Kidane’s father was not involved in the drug operation and was not aware of his son’s alleged double life.
Detectives executing search warrants May 7 in Queens and Long Island seized 150 pounds of marijuana, 10 kilograms of cocaine, 600 Ecstasy tablets, seven condom-sized balloons containing heroin, firearms, more than $606,000 in cash and an NYPD uniform.
Though Kidane reported he earned only $22,371 in income as an actor in 2000, detectives and prosecutors have thus far seized $591,000 from him, including $258,000 in cash from a safe deposit box at the Dime Savings Bank branch in the Green Acres shopping mall in Valley Stream, authorities said.
Kidane lists himself as a member of the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. In addition to “Shaft,” the remake of the Richard Roundtree classic, he has appeared in the movies “Bringing out the Dead,” “Bone Collector,” and “28 Days,” and in television episodes of “Third Watch,” “Oz” and “Law and Order.”
Reach reporter Daniel Massey by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 156.