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Residents: Sin den on 221st

Laurelton residents complained about what they said was an illegal gambling operation on their block during a meeting of the 105th Precinct Community Council last week.

Stephanie West, a resident of 221st Street, said a home on the block is a hotbed of illegal activity, including gambling, prostitution and drug dealing.

West said she has seen men on the block smoking “smelly weed” in plain sight.

“I can be in my house catching contact,” she said. “There are weird men in my petunias at night because there’s no bathroom.”

Capt. Joseph Kearney, executive officer of the 105th Precinct, said the city Department of Buildings levied $40,000 in fines against the home’s owner, although he did not say why the penalties were assessed.

He noted that a vice squad attempted to infiltrate the suspected gambling operation, but said the suspected ringleader does not deal with strangers.

West suggested she would take action if the cops did not.

“I have a registered gun in my house. So now what?” she said.

West said officers previously told her they would investigate, but she was skeptical.

“Do I look like Boo Boo the fool? Nobody really gives a damn. That’s how I feel,” she said.

West said she also saw two prostitutes operating out of the house and noticed truckloads of liquor arriving at the residence.

“Our children can’t even play outside,” she said.

A Queens Village resident also complained about “heavy drug activity” near the White Castle on Springfield Boulevard.

Kearney said police “are in the area” and that the narcotics squad is “plugged in,” noting that two officers were in the vicinity of the White Castle when they made a gun arrest that led to them being named Cop of the Month.

Detective John Caracci and Police Officer Steven Kiefer were patrolling an area with high drug activity when they noticed a man acting suspiciously in a deli on 111th Street and Springfield Boulevard at around 9:30 p.m. May 17, Kearney said.

The man took a firearm out of his pocket and placed it on the shelf of the deli when a second man approached the officers and a violent struggle ensued, he said.

The officers recovered a .357 caliber revolver loaded with armor-piercing bullets, Kearney said.

Kearney noted the precinct recorded a 0.9 percent drop in crime this year compared to the same time last year. The 105th stretches from Glen Oaks in the north down through Queens Village, Laurelton and Springfield Gardens.

Rape, which was down 38.9 percent, was a major reason for the decline, he said.

Kearney noted all rapes occurring within the precinct’s boundaries have been to women who knew their attackers. He said there have been no stranger rapes in the 105th for the last two years.

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4573.

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