NYPD officers and federal agents arrested more than a dozen suspected drug dealers from a Washington Heights-based crew whose members carried guns and operated a “street pharmacy” that sold heroin, crack and fentanyl, authorities said Wednesday.
The 16 suspects allegedly ran the sophisticated drug-trafficking operation between West 174th and West 175th Streets and Amsterdam and Audubon Avenues from 2019 until this month, Manhattan federal prosecutors said.
The organization kept specific hours and managers of the crew scheduled dealers to work set shifts while ensuring the drug market was stocked with methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, crack, fentanyl, oxycodone, Xanax and marijuana.
The operation was sophisticated enough that when a dealer missed a shift, managers demanded a doctor’s note or positive COVID-19 test from them, federal authorities said in a statement.
All of the 174th Street crew members arrested today were charged with drug trafficking and a weapons charge and face a maximum of life in prison.
“The success of today’s operation represents another important stride in our ongoing effort to combat narcotics trafficking and firearms use in New York City and also reinforces our commitment to our law enforcement partners,” Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent in Charge Ivan J. Arvelo said in a statement after the bust.
“I’m proud of our agents’ extensive investigative work to apprehend these members from the Washington Heights-based 174th Street Crew — a crew who are known to traffic narcotics and possess firearms,” he added.
US Attorney Damian Williams added in a statement: “As alleged in the Indictment, these defendants injected substantial quantities of narcotics into the community, putting dangerous drugs on the streets and putting lives in danger. Thanks to the extraordinary work of our partners at NYPD, HSI, and the USSS, the defendants now face federal charges for their crimes.”
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