2007_01_pothole.jpgA totally crazy story from the Daily News about how one city employee moonlighted. A pothole repairman for the Department of Transportation smuggled heroin for a Colombian drug ring. Ricardo Calderon actually worked deals while working on street potholes - now we know why it takes so long to get those things filled!

Heroin would come to the Bronx via cruise ships, hidden in suitcases or "inside small packets sewn into running shorts." Then Calderon and other men would traffic the drugs out of Queens to all over the Northeast. He was caught on a wiretap "setting up the drug deal while he and other DOT workers were fixing streets in Queens" in 2004.

On June 16, 2004, Calderon had his street repair crew drive him to Joey's Pizza on Grand Ave. in Maspeth.

He jumped off the truck and, wearing his yellow Local 983 T-shirt, sauntered into the pizza parlor. Yepes came out a few minutes later, got into a car parked nearby and blew his horn several times to signal Calderon to come to the car, authorities said.

Calderon trotted over and took a plastic bag stuffed with bundles of cash out of Yepes' trunk. The money was advance payment for a kilo of high-quality heroin, authorities said.

Yepes had told Calderon to bring the heroin to the pizza parlor, but the pothole man balked at carrying drugs in the city truck. Calderon was heard on wiretaps setting up another meeting to deliver the drugs, authorities said.

That's hilarious that Calderon had no problems wheeling and dealing on the job, but thought carrying drugs on a city truck would cross the line. Calderon was arrested for drug dealing in February 2005 and was convicted at the end of last year. The DOT fired him in the summer of 2005, but only because he lost his driver's license, not because of setting up drug deals on the job.

Another interesting thing is that Calderon bought a condo in Washington valued at $230,000 for $60,000 from former DOT Commissioner Christopher Lynn. Lynn tells the News that, "His sister was an engineer at DOT and was a dear friend of mine. If you look at his status when he bought it, he wasn't accused of doing so much as throwing a gum wrapper on the ground."