A sizable drug trafficking operation based on Williamsburg's Southside has been busted, the Brooklyn District Attorney announced yesterday.
According to the DA's office, 25 people were charged Thursday for their alleged involvement in the drug ring, based out of a Driggs Avenue apartment (near the corner of South 4th Street) but with business stretching to other parts of the city, including Prospect Heights, Astoria, Ridgewood and Staten Island.
The investigation began in January, with 25-year-old Josie Tavera emerging as the primary suspect along with several of his family members, including his mother, sister and brother. Others accused of involvement are 36-year-old Jason Collazo, an employee at Midtown Manhattan Community Court, and 37-year-old Michael Mineo, who studied substance abuse at the College of Staten Island and told police he was a drug counselor.
The heroin was sold under a variety of names, including “Knockout,” “Takeover,” “Power Hour,” “Killing Time,” “Pure,” “Gucci,” and “Scorpion.”
“There’s a growing heroin epidemic in New York and other parts of the country that’s taking the lives of many of our young people hooked on this deadly and highly-addictive drug," DA Kenneth Thompson said in a statement. "We must deal with this quiet drug plague by going after those who peddle this poison in our communities."
Of the 25 defendants, 22 were arrested yesterday, and one defendant is still being sought byt the NYPD. All have been charged with second degree conspiracy, and some are also charged with various degrees of criminal sale of a controlled substance, criminal possession of a controlled substance and fourth degree money laundering.
Sixteen additional defendants—identified as alleged customers and couriers—were also arrested.
Some locals were stunned that such dealings were going down in their increasingly posh neighborhood. “What can I say?” Ernesto Torres, a porter, told the Times. “I’m surprised, I’m very surprised.”
But one longtime resident, who lives around the corner from the Driggs Avenue building, tells us, "I'm not surprised, it's always been really easy to score drugs on my block."