Undercover cops were sold heroin, crack, cocaine and weapons 98 times at Astoria Houses

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia/Jim Henderson

A year-long anti-drug operation at the Astoria Houses resulted in 12 arrests of individuals who sold drugs and weapons to undercover officers.

According to Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown, the defendants sold crack, heroin, cocaine, ecstasy (MDMA) on nearly one hundred occasions to undercover officers since September 2015. Three of the defendants are purported drug members and three were charged with selling weapons to undercover officers.

A total of 98 buys for cocaine, heroin, ecstasy, marijuana and other drugs, as well as firearms, were made. The operation began to “combat violence and narcotics sales” by a group of people who have ties to ‘Kings of Queens’ and ‘G-Squad,’ two “violent street crews,” Brown said.

More arrests are expected to be made.

“The Astoria Houses takedown is just the latest result of a coordinated law enforcement and prosecutorial anti-drug initiative that began soon after I took office more than 25 years ago,” Brown said. “Since that time, we have targeted hundreds of drug dealers operating in and around public housing developments throughout Queens and have put a significant dent in the drug trafficking which has long troubled the residents of these developments.”

The investigation commenced in September 2015, when detectives from the NYPD’s Queens Narcotics Division teamed up with District Attorney Brown’s Narcotics Investigation Bureau to identify and stop drug dealers and drug-related violence in and around the Astoria Houses. The New York City Housing Authority complex consists of 22 buildings that are six- and seven-stories tall. The 32.3-acre Queens development houses 3,175 residents in approximately 1,100 apartments.

The defendants are variously charged with the crimes of first-, second- and third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance, third- and fourth-degree criminal sale of marijuana, third-degree criminal sale of a firearm, second- and third-degree criminal possession of a weapon, criminal possession of a weapon, fourth-degree grand larceny, possession of a gambling device, second-degree promoting gambling and fourth-degree criminal facilitation.

Astoria resident Raekwon Ingram, 19, and Maspeth resident Hassan White, 20 are alleged G-Squad members while Terrence Robinson, 26 is a purported King of Queens gang member.

Other defendants include Donald Johnson, 35, Kassim Caballero, 46, John Ellerbe, 49,  Rick Humphrey, 55, Justin Munoz, 18, Davonta Parham, 24, Paul Robinson, 28, Vianca Thapa, 49 and Michael Wilson, 63, all of Astoria.

“Illegal narcotics and firearms serve only to fuel violence,” said Police Commissioner Bill Bratton. “The NYPD remains firmly committed to protecting communities such as the Astoria Houses and holding responsible those who engage in drug and gun trafficking.”