An alleged Harlem-based weed wholesaler was shut down yesterday by the NYPD. Police arrested 11 men, said to be led by 44-year-old Frank McTaggart, for running an illegal drug shop out of The Rally Furniture Store on West 132nd Street. The crew was apparently so brazen about their deals that on a regular basis they would roll their otherwise unused furniture out onto the street to create a "de facto social club where some of the defendants, while still selling drugs, would ... play table games, host parties and barbecues, drink alcohol, smoke marijuana, and play loud music into the early morning hours," according to court documents. "Basically they took over the block," Assistant DA Jordan Arnold told a judge yesterday.
In attempts to try and keep the police from noticing their front, the crew allegedly would sell their drugs in stores around the neighborhood. Further they would hide their stashes all over the block "in what otherwise appeared to be discarded newspapers, bags and containers," according to the police. That last bit is what really irked the neighbors.
“Another city block is being reclaimed from drug dealers, thanks in large part to local residents who came forward to report suspicious activity,” District Attorney Cy Vance said in a statement. “These defendants weren’t just selling small amounts to occasional drug users—they were selling in bulk to other dealers, drawing criminals to the neighborhood."
"The people on the block suspected stuff," Mary Abalorio, the owner of Seven Grain Health Food around the corner told the News. "Its been closed for six months, but there were always people outside, so you know there was something wrong. I'm still scared."
The eleven men—Frank McTaggart, a.k.a. David Brown 44; Donavan Lewis, 36; Larrington Haye, a.k.a. Young, 39; Stafford Burke, a.k.a. Slim, 44; David Dawson, 39; Peter Bowley, 46; Christopher Richards, 41; Cordero Bailey, 22; John Mosley, 32, Freddie Bobbitt, 52; and Rallyford Simpson, 53—have been charged with conspiracy to distribute wholesale quantities of marijuana, as well as with Criminal Sale of Marijuana in the First, Second, Third and Fourth Degrees. Amusingly, when police arrested the group David Dawson just happened to be wearing a weed-based fake Wheaties t-shirt.