Lower East Side Drug Ring Busted in Wake of Cop Shooting

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

This image has been archived or removed.

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

Rehab Begins for Fire-Ravaged School Building in Chinatown

In the wake of the devastating fire at the old Public School 23 building in Chinatown, the cleanup and rehab is full throttle. City contractors starting assembling scaffolding at the scorched 70 Mulberry Street earlier this week. The web of bars is making its way up the whole structure ahead of imminent debris removal. Meanwhile, […]

‘Bel Fries’ Nears Opening on Ludlow Street

The plywood is deposed, revealing the second fast-fry joint for Hell Square. Indeed, it took eighteen months, and several different murals on its shed, but Bel Fries is pretty much ready to go at 132 Ludlow Street. When we first broke word of its arrival in September 2018, we had been told it was called […]

Embattled WeWork Expands into New SoHo Development with 5-Story Workspace

WeWork just opened its latest downtown co-working location, with an enormous stake in a new SoHo development. Nameplate is up. The embattled company took a chunk of 140 Crosby Street (aka 606 Broadway), which came on line last year. The footprint is massive, with office space sprawled across five floors of the modern building. For […]

Pornhub Pop-up Heads to Allen Street for Valentine’s Day

This Valentine’s Day, Pornhub is pulling out the stops with a Lower East Side store. Beginning today, the porn website is hosting a two-day pop-up on Allen Street. Located at the corner of Broome Street – and steps from the Janina synagogue – the stunt is meant to woo horny locals to become premium customers. […]

Face Mask Price Gouging and Long Lines at Chinatown Post Offices Amidst Coronavirus Fears

With elevated fears over Coronavirus gripping the world, many like myself, with family in China and Hong Kong, are worried about the shortage of surgical or N95 face masks overseas. While the masks themselves might not be sufficient protection against the virus, it does provide some measure of comfort. But as I discovered, buying these […]