Father, son among men indicted for running open-air drug market near school in Jamaica: DA

Jamaica illegal drug market
Drugs and guns seized from illegal Jamaica drug market. (Photo courtesy of the Queens DA’s office)

A father and son are among a group of five defendants that were indicted by a Queens grand jury for operating an open-air drug market on a dead-end street in Jamaica, Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz announced Tuesday.

The crew allegedly sold fentanyl, heroin and cocaine, and more than 10 kilos of narcotics and four guns were seized following a long-term investigation by the NYPD and the Queens DA’s office.

Four of the defendants were identified as Boris Ford, 57, of Roosevelt Island; his son Barshawn Ford, 29, of Jamaica; and Esau Daniels, 28, and Leon Spears, 60, both of Jamaica. A fifth defendant, Lonnie Scott, 50, also of Jamaica, is charged with possession of kilos of narcotics worth more than $75,000, according to the DA’s office.

“Illicit drugs — especially dangerous substances such as fentanyl — poison our communities and place the lives of countless individuals at risk,” Katz said. “While Queens County continues to struggle with an alarming increase in fatal drug overdoses since the pandemic began, my office is relentless in our efforts to take down those who sell poison on our streets.”

According to the charges, from May 2021 to June 2022, the Fords, Daniels and Spears conspired to sell an inventory of drugs including heroin, cocaine and fentanyl on at least 23 occasions. Katz said the elder Ford would procure the narcotics from various suppliers, including defendant Scott, and then repackage the narcotics for resale with his son Barshawn and Daniels who would then provide the narcotics to various street dealers including Spears, and bring the cash proceeds back to the elder Ford.

The four defendants allegedly communicated information about their drug inventory and sales through scores of phone calls and text messages that were intercepted during the 13-month-long interagency investigation dubbed Operation Overpass, which utilized complex court-authorized electronic surveillance warrants, surveillance and other investigative tools.

In October 2021, the court authorized electronic surveillance of a mobile phone used by Boris Ford. Undercover detectives with the Queens South Violent Crime Squad determined that the elder Ford had enlisted his son and at least three other men to operate the open-air drug market on the dead-end street at 157th Street and 109th Avenue across from Marconi Park and P.S. Q48. The defendants allegedly controlled the block where customers could walk up and purchase illicit narcotics on demand, according to the charges.

“As this case demonstrates, the NYPD and our law enforcement partners will continue to combat the scourge of illegal drugs wherever, and whenever, it threatens New Yorkers,” NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell said. “Selling this poison in our community shows a callous disregard for human life. These criminals prey on some of our city’s most vulnerable people, and the NYPD will never cease in our efforts to bring them to justice.”

The Fords, Daniels and Spears have been charged with conspiracy, criminal sale of a controlled substance, and criminal possession of a controlled substance. Boris Ford and Spears face additional charges stemming from items seized during the execution of a search warrant this week that yielded four illegal firearms, including a MAC-11 submachine gun, more than five kilos of heroin and cocaine and cash.

Boris Ford is charged in a 68-count grand jury indictment and was arraigned on July 15 before Queens Supreme Court Justice John Zoll who ordered him to return to court on Aug. 1. If convicted, the elder Ford faces up to 24 years in prison. His son Barshawn was arraigned on July 13 before Queens Supreme Court Justice Donna-Marie Golia and faces up to nine years in prison.

Daniels and Spears face up to 14 and 15 years in prison respectively. Lonnie Scott was arraigned on July 13 before Queens Criminal Court Judge Marty Lentz on a complaint charging him with criminal possession of a controlled substance and operating as a major trafficker. If convicted, Scott faces up to life in prison.

“Following a long-term investigation conducted by my Major Economic Crimes Bureau and the New York City Police Department, these five defendants face serious charges and will be held to account for their alleged actions in jeopardizing the safety of our neighborhoods,” Katz said.