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

yesone-mural-boogie
In Action in LES with YESONE and the Lower East Side Preservation Initiative

Last night was the second installment of the two-part discussion, “Street Art and the Lower East Side.” Sponsored by the Lower East Side Preservation Initiative, the miniseries explored the connections between the decades-old art form and its neighborhood muse. Noted artist YESONE was the subject of yesterday’s event, having spent hours in the brutal heat […]

arlenes-group-show
How Arlene’s Grocery is Changing its Tune to Embrace Street Art

Arlene’s Grocery celebrates two decades on Stanton Street this year. Considered one of the first modern live music clubs in the neighborhood, the establishment came to prominence in 1995 when the former bodega and butcher shop at 95 Stanton were combined to create the venue. It’s an establishment known more for its stage and musical […]

i-heart-nrchy-flier
MORUS Film Fest Brings ‘Subversion & the City’ this Weekend

There’s more to anarchy than a little Project Mayhem. To prove it, this weekend the East Village Community Gardens will set the stage for a unique visual series exploring grassroots activism, how it has defined the steadfast voices of opposition on the Lower East Side, and how unconventional involvement can spark real change for the future. The spirit of Anarchy is embedded […]

flowers-cafe-building
Flowers Cafe is on Vacation Until Monday; Luxury Development Looms

Flowers Cafe is currently on vacation, but it’s not permanent. At least not yet. The sign on the front door promises a resumption in service on Monday (August 3). This quirky cafe is a favorite among locals for being a no-frills recharging station. Its very existence is threatened, though. The property owner – Interboro Properties […]

Standoff - Jenifer Rajkumar vs. Gigi Li
Gigi Li Withdraws Campaign for District Leader Amidst Election Fraud Controversy

Gigi Li, sitting Chair of Community Board 3, has dropped out of the hyperlocal race for Assembly District Leader from Part C of the 65th Assembly District. She had been battling incumbent Jenifer Rajkumar, who will now remain in her position. The embarrassing withdrawal comes in the aftermath of her alleged forgery of petition signatures […]