Drug Dealer Targeted Busy Union Square Businesses in Sales of Heroin, Fentanyl and Cocaine

Morales 4-15-19b  Morales 4-15-19

Bridget G. Brennan, New York City’s Special Narcotics Prosecutor, New York City Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., announced today the indictment of ANTHONY MORALES for allegedly selling large quantities of heroin, fentanyl and cocaine inside fast food restaurants and a supermarket in the vicinity of Manhattan’s Union Square.

MORALES, 49, is scheduled to be arraigned on an indictment today before Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Felicia A. Mennin, Part 22, 111 Centre St. MORALES faces charges of Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the First, Second and Third Degrees and Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree. The charges are the result of an undercover investigation by the New York City Police Department’s (NYPD) Narcotics Borough Manhattan South.

On seven dates between March 27, 2019 and May 9, 2019, MORALES allegedly sold a total of $16,280 in narcotics to an undercover officer. In each instance, the undercover requested heroin and/or cocaine. However, subsequent NYPD laboratory analysis of the drugs revealed that the purported heroin was in fact fentanyl (a synthetic opioid up to 50 times more potent than heroin) or a mixture of fentanyl and heroin.

In setting up the first six drug sales, MORALES directed the undercover to meet him in the vicinity of Union Square and guided him into busy local businesses. The majority of sales took place between the hours of 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. inside fast food restaurants, including Chipotle, McDonald’s and Au Bon Pain. An additional sale occurred inside a Food Emporium supermarket location at Union Square.

MORALES allegedly handed narcotics to the undercover inside a bag or box. The undercover observed families with young children and babies in strollers nearby while the sales were taking place.

NYPD officers arrested MORALES on May 9, 2019 following the final sale in the investigation, which occurred at a Dunkin’ Donuts location on St. Nicholas Avenue in Harlem. The undercover paid $3,700 for cocaine and purported heroin. Subsequent laboratory analysis determined the narcotics sold were cocaine and fentanyl. A total of approximately $4,470 cash was recovered from MORALES at the time of his arrest.

Overdose deaths are at record high levels in New York City, with fentanyl involved in more than half of all drug fatalities, according to data from the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.

Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget G. Brennan commended SNP’s Trial Division and the New York City Police Department’s Narcotics Borough Manhattan South for their work on the investigation and thanked Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr.

Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget G. Brennan said, “Fentanyl is responsible for hundreds of overdose deaths across our city. It is being exchanged for cash in popular fast food shops and grocery stores in our city. The single most important thing we can do to reduce the number of overdose deaths, is cut off the supply of poison that is killing people. I commend the efforts of all involved in this investigation.”

"Today's charges show that criminals often believe they can operate in plain sight, with apparent impunity. The NYPD and our law enforcement partners exist to shatter that notion and hold them responsible for distributing dangerous drugs into our communities. I commend and thank the Special Narcotics Prosecutor's Office, the Manhattan District Attorney, and the hardworking NYPD investigators for their professionalism and dedication to this investigation," said Police Commissioner James P. O'Neill.

The charges and allegations are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty

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Special Narcotics Prosecutor’s Office
Kati Cornell
(212) 815-0525

New York City Police Department
Phillip Walzak
(646) 610-6700