On Wednesday, Aug. 8, 19 Long Island City residents, two from Jackson Heights and one individual from South Ozone Park were variously charged with crimes of criminal sale of a controlled substance, including heroin, cocaine and marijuana, criminal possession of a weapon and other charges. An addendum of the names and charges of the 22 individuals is available here.
The investigation into the case began in September 2017 and was conducted by the NYPD’s Narcotics Borough Queens Division and District Attorney Richard A. Brown’s Narcotics Investigation Bureau. Over the course of a year, investigators conducted extensive physical surveillance and undercover police officers posed as narcotics customers.
In addition, nine court-authorized searched warrants executed at nine locations within the Queensbridge Houses and four handguns were seized during the course of the investigation.
“This investigation is another example of police and prosecutors working together to reduce drug dealing that too often plagues our neighborhoods,” Brown said. “We are committed to continue to employ aggressive and innovative tactics to track down and prosecute drug dealers and other criminals who seek to terrorize our communities. It is imperative that we stop those who would flood our streets with drugs and lure our children into lives of crime.”
These arrests are not the first of their kind at the Queensbridge Houses, which is the largest public housing development in New York City. In December 2017, a 43-year-old man was sentenced to 10 1/2 in prison after he was caught running a drug-trafficking operation out of the housing complex. A year before in December 2016, seven individuals were arrested and charged with trafficking large amounts of crack cocaine, fentanyl and oxycodone.
Police Commissioner James O’Neill thanked the Queens DA’s Office and cops who were involved in the investigation and spoke about the importance of catching illicit drug trafficking operations.
“To keep driving crime and disorder down past already record-lows in New York City, it is imperative that we identify and dismantle illegal narcotics organizations like this one,” O’Neill said. “The people who live and work in all of our neighborhoods deserve to be safe from drug-dealing and its associated violence.”
If found guilty of their crimes, many of the defendants could face prison sentences ranging from one to 12 years.