NYPD, Manhattan DA, take down East Harlem PCP drug sales network; angel dust back in
Cops on Wednesday rounded up a huge angel dust ring in East Harlem that drew customers from all five boroughs, terrorized the neighborhood - and even stooped to using an 8-year-old boy as lookout.
“The defendants used this child to facilitate the daily activity of this drug den, putting him in harm's way every day...Eight years old,” said Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance.
“It just goes to show you the prodigious impact it could have on a community - and how important it is for us to end it.”
Vance and NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly said 35 drug dealers were indicted after a 15-month investigation.
Officials said the gang dipped mint leaves in liquid PCP, crushed them up and sold them in $10 bags to be mixed with marijuana or cigarettes and smoked, officials said.
The operation sold about a million and a half dollars worth of the baggies a year, cops estimated.
The ringleaders - brothers Lamont “Mo” Moultrie, 41, and Bernard "B-Hi" Moultrie, 39 - were charged under the 2009 “drug kingpin” statute, which carries a sentence of 25-to-life.
It’s only the second time Vance has used the law, which is saved for major traffickers, since taking office two years ago.
Police said Lamont Moultrie is on lifetime parole for a 1989 murder. A raid on his apartment turned up $39,000 in cash and several gallons of liquid PCP stored in Hawaiian punch bottles, cops said.
The PCP ring was centered around the Milbank-Frawley Houses, a public housing development on 118th Street in East Harlem. People lined up to buy, coming from all over the city as well as Long Island, New Jersey - even Vermont.
“Neighbors told us directly that they walked through their hallways and streets in fear as their community filled up every afternoon with people looking to buy drugs,” Vance said.
Many of the men and women rounded up Wednesday have long criminal histories, prosecutors said.
That includes Melvin Carlton, described as Lamont Moultrie’s right hand man, who served 23 years of a 15-to life sentence for a 1989 execution style shooting.
“He was just released in March,” said assistant district attorney Lucy Lang, and immediately “became a lieutenant in the organization here.”
Besides the Moultrie brothers and their lieutenants, cops arrested a rash of day-to-day managers, packagers and street-level sellers.
Cops said breaking the ring was tough going. They had sophisticated security, layers of lookouts and steerers, and vetted their customers.
"They had very tight security that made it difficult to do this investigation,” Kelly said. “It was difficult to get undercover officers involved.”
Many of the defendants were recorded on wiretaps, a judge revealed.
PCP, known as angel dust, has often-extreme psychoactive effects - hallucinations, euphoria and suicidal thoughts - and provides a long high. It was especially popular in the 1970s but is regaining popularity, cops say.
On Sunday, one of the operation’s customers - Hilda Santiago, 38, who came from the Bronx to buy - burned alive when her clothes caught fire, Kelly said.
“This drug has a very disorientating effect. It is an anesthetic to a certain extent. She started smoking it, and her clothes caught on fire and she died,” said Kelly.
Residents in the targeted area were thrilled by news of the busts.
"It's great because that means less people living in fear," said Swan Moore, 43, who has four children. "We got good cops here but we need more cops. You see the young people standing in the corners. People don't want to care. They will care when their babies get shot."
Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/...#ixzz1jsisPgd0
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