Lower East Side Drug Ring Busted in Wake of Cop Shooting

Posted on: December 26th, 2012 at 6:09 am by

essex-cop-shooter-2

Even though the cop shooter remains at large, the undercover operation led by officer Groves at 64 Essex Street last summer still resulted in the dissolution of a Lower East Side drug ring. As reported last week, the gun fired in the stairwell if the 23rd floor was purchased in another sting with said drug group, referred to simply as the “Organization.” Thirteen of its members were simultaneously charged with one count of conspiring to distribute, and possess with “intent to distribute, cocaine, crack cocaine and oxycodone from about 2007 up to about December 2012.”

64 Essex – the Seward Park Extension housing complex – was apparently one of three participant buildings from which the Organization operated. Here’s more from the Manhattan District Attorney website:

Since at least 2007, the Organization has operated primarily in and around the buildings at 154 Broome Street, 410 Grand Street and 64 Essex Street in Manhattan (the “Lower East Side buildings”). The Organization was run by RICHARD FRANCO, who directed, managed or otherwise supervised members and associates of the Organization – including LAZARUS FRANCO, LATWON GARCIA, DAMIEN GIRDNER, FUQUAN JONES, GEORGE LAURIANO, JOHN LAURIANO, JASON ROSARIO, KENNETH SIDERS, ISMAEL SIDIBE, RASHEEN SMITH, JOSE VALETTE, and LUKE WOOLFOLK. The members and associates conducted hand-to-hand transactions of cocaine, crack cocaine, and oxycodone pills in the Lower East Side buildings and the surrounding area. During at least some of these transactions, the Organization members carried firearms.

The investigation into the Organization began after the July 2012 shooting of NYPD Officer Brian Groves who was performing a patrol of the stairway of 64 Essex Street when he observed an individual holding a gun on the 23rd floor staircase landing. The individual turned and ran down the stairs, and when Officer Groves pursued and confronted him, the individual shot one bullet into Officer Groves. He survived.

As part of the investigation, two undercover NYPD officers made approximately 25 buys of cocaine and crack cocaine from various members of the Organization. In September 2012, the undercover officers bought a gun from a member of the Organization that, based on ballistics analysis, is the same gun that was used to shoot Officer Groves.

Recent Stories

Seward Park Library, Jan. 2015
Preservation and Celebration with the ‘Lower East Side Oral History Project’

The New York Public Library’s Lower East Side Oral History Project is officially up and running. And ready to celebrate. The recently-launched neighborhood history project aims to document and preserve LES history through the eyes of its inhabitants. The locals. You know, not the droves who hole up in Hell Square on the weekends. Community volunteers have been trained to […]

graffiti-wall-tagged
Before PichiAvo Paints the Bowery Graffiti Wall, Taggers Go Crazy

The lame duck session at the Bowery Graffiti Wall has proven an opportune moment for taggers. In the week since Goldman Properties whitewashed the two-story encasement ahead of the next artist design, the fresh canvas has been attacked several times. Especially thanks to the perfect storm of inclement weather and lack of the usual security. […]

Rendering composite of Ben Shaoul and 196 Orchard St, Photo: Real Deal
Here’s a Recap from that Deplorable ‘LES is More’ Developers Summit Yesterday

Yesterday morning, movers and shakers (nay, demolishers) in the real estate industry met to discuss the future of the Lower East Side vis-a-vis Donald Trump. Like a Pinky & the Brain segment, the summit was seemingly an opportunity to plot the future of how to dominate a neighborhood already suffering attack from all sides. The event, […]

Chinatown Fair, August 2009
6th Annual New York Game Awards Happening at Abrons Art Center Tonight

Game on! The 6th Annual New York Game Awards, presented by the members of the New York Videogame Critics Circle, is happening tonight at the Abrons Art Center Playhouse. The group works alongside the community to mentor and distribute college scholarships for all things associated in the realm of gaming. They also have game-oriented panels, fireside chats and do […]

waterfront-meeting-6_wm
LES Activists Torpedo Developers’ Scoping Session to Protest Waterfront Towers

It was only fitting that, two days after Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the spirit of protest infiltrated a planning session for the upcoming wall of glass on the Lower East Side waterfront. And a surprise, at that. The powers-that-be set up an info session (free food!) on the environmental review process (“EIS”) for the […]