Convenience store adjacent to Council Member Ariola’s Ozone Park office shut down after contraband raid

Medina Ariola Drug Bust OZPK
Council Woman Joann Ariola stands outside the businesses located next to her district office where the NYPD Narcotics Squad removed hundreds of untaxed cigarettes a 40 pounds of cannabis products in Ozone Park.
Photo courtesy the office of Council Member Joann Ariola

Authorities seized hundreds of untaxed cigarettes and nearly 40 pounds of marijuana products on Thursday, March 14, during a nighttime bust of a convenience store located next to the Ozone Park district office of Council Member Joann Ariola.

The raid of the 93-08 101st Ave. store stemmed from a partnership between NYPD Queens South Narcotics Squad and Ariola, who had been keeping tabs on the location.

The Narcotics Squad, which conducted the bust, removed 773 packs of untaxed cigarettes during the search, along with 35 pounds of various cannabis products, including edibles, rolls, flowers, and oils, officials say.

Officers arrested two individuals in connection to raid, but the identities of the individuals and the criminal charges they face have yet to be released.

Boxes of untaxed cigarettes were discovered at the convenience store next to the Ozone Park district office of Council Member Joann Ariola.Photo courtesy the office of Council Member Joann Ariola

The convenience store—which was closed Friday, March 15—is located directly across the street from Elizabeth Blackwell Middle School, M.S. 210. Ariola made a point to shutter the store especially given its proximity to a NYC public school.

“We cannot and will not tolerate people coming into our communities and peddling unlicensed, unregulated goods to our children,” Ariola added.

The closure was the second to take place in Ariola’s district stemming from her partnership with the NYPD Queens South Narcotics Squad.

“Let me be clear: these kinds of raids will continue throughout District 32 until there are no more illegal smoke shops in our area,” Ariola said.

Last week, the Narcotics Squad led a raid on a convenience store in Howard Beach, a neighborhood in Ariola’s district, where 400 untaxed cigarettes and 30 points of cannabis products were removed.

Ariola first helped to shutter that shop last fall, but when it opened once again, Assembly Member Stacey Pheffer Amato joined forces with the NYPD to close it.

With the ongoing issues surrounding the sale of illegal cannabis products, Ariola continues to push for legislative measures in the city council. A resolution sponsored by Ariola (Res. 0027) calls on the New York State Legislature to pass, and the Governor to sign the Smoke Out Act concerning the unlawful sale of cannabis.

The passage of the Smoke Out Act would allow local municipalities to enforce legal action against smoke shops caught selling illegal products.