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An upscale drug ring that allegedly delivered narcotics from a Queens Boulevard apartment to the doorsteps of affluent customers around the city has been shut down with the arrest of 23 people, the Queens district attorney said last week.
The defendants, including two accused drug dealers from Queens, were being held on various charges including conspiracy and criminal possession or criminal sale of a controlled substance, District Attorney Richard Brown said. Some face sentences up to life in prison if convicted.
The ring allegedly operated only two blocks from the Queens County Courthouse in an apartment at 117-14 Queens Boulevard, Brown said.
The 20-year-old tenant, Jane Blume, has been charged with allowing that and her parents Manhattan apartment to be used for the preparation and packaging of drugs, he said.
Drugs were also stashed in a warehouse at 1633 Weirfield St. in Ridgewood, along with sites in Yonkers and the Bronx.
Among the five men accused of operating the ring are Mitchell Fisher, 22, of 30-86 14th St. in Astoria and Steve Cummings, 23, of 124-09 25th Rd. in College Point.
Fisher and Junior Luis Rivera of Manhattan allegedly ran a beeper-service for affluent drug users, Brown said, sending well-dressed runners to their homes with deliveries of cocaine and Ecstasy.
These young professionals apparently were concerned about their image and did not want their neighbors to suspect that they were drug users, Brown said.
When Fisher was arrested in November, control was allegedly passed onto Lee Aviles, 24, who began expanding the Manhattan home-delivery service to Queens, Brown said.
Police uncovered $43,570 in cash as well as a large quantity of drugs, including more than 2,600 Ecstasy tablets, 5,000 Valium pills, 200 packages of heroin and over 3 kilograms of cocaine. They also seized five cars, four handguns and packaging materials for the drugs, Brown said.
The investigation began in April when Queens Narcotics detectives learned about Fisher and began watching members of the suspected drug ring.
With a court-ordered eavesdropping warrant, investigators listened to phone conversations in which the accused suppliers tried to mask the alleged drug transactions with code words, Brown said. Different womens names referred to types of drugs Christina, for instance, stood for cocaine and dollar amounts were expressed as addresses, with 34th Street meaning $34,000 per kilogram of cocaine.
Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said the arrests should send a message to all drug traffickers.
No matter how sophisticated your operation of high-scale your client base, if your business is dealing drugs, you are going to be uncovered, he said. You are going to be arrested and you are going to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
Reach reporter Dustin Brown by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 154.
©2002 Community Newspaper Group
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