Drug Sales in Manhattan’s Washington Square Park Lead to Indictment of Citywide Narcotics Suppliers: Firearm Seized
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 arrest and indictment of three defendants who sold significant quantities of heroin, fentanyl and cocaine.
Two indictments unsealed today are the result of a long-term investigation by the New York City Police Department’s (NYPD) Narcotics Borough Manhattan South Major Case Unit, the Special Narcotics Prosecutor’s Office and the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office. What began as an operation centered on street-level drug dealing in Washington Square Park, grew into a wiretap investigation that identified major citywide narcotics suppliers.
Since September 2016, the defendants allegedly made 15 sales of narcotics, including cocaine, heroin, a mixture of cocaine and the potent synthetic opioid fentanyl and a mixture of heroin and fentanyl to undercover NYPD officers for over $20,000. Sales occurred in various neighborhoods in Manhattan and in the Bronx.
The wiretap component of the investigation was initiated in February 2017 in collaboration with Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., who submitted multiple eavesdropping applications for court authorization. The indictments were filed in Manhattan Supreme Court by the Special Narcotics Prosecutor’s Office.
Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget G. Brennan said: “I thank our law enforcement partners for their commitment to this important investigation. The conspiracy announced began with shots fired in Washington Square Park. The investigation was peppered with sales of cocaine and fentanyl-laced heroin in locations surrounded by high schools, middle schools and elementary schools as well as narcotics distributed at a homeless shelter. We tracked suppliers to the Bronx, and seized narcotics and a gun. People in our city who use illegal drugs - whether they are occasional users or suffer from addiction – need to know that the black market is saturated with the killer drug fentanyl.”
Defendants ANTHONY DIXON, MARTIN MOLINA and JOHN MILIA were arrested on Wednesday. DIXON was arraigned yesterday morning before Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Felicia A. Mennin in Part 22, 111 Centre Street. MOLINA was arraigned this morning and MILIA is scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon.
At the outset of the investigation, an incident of shots fired inside the park and community complaints about drug activity prompted undercover NYPD officers with Narcotics Borough Manhattan South to purchase drugs from several individuals in the vicinity of Washington Square Park.
JOHN MILIA, of Brooklyn, was one such individual who allegedly sold cocaine and heroin to undercover officers six times between September 27, 2016 and December 1, 2016 for over $3,000. The majority of MILIA’s charged sales took place within a few blocks of Washington Square Park and near the Harvey Milk High School on Astor Place and The Academy of St. Joseph on Washington Place. A sale also occurred near The Keswell School, a school for children diagnosed with autism on West 25th Street. In a seventh and final meeting with an undercover officer on January 26, 2017, MILIA sold what proved to be imitation narcotics for over $1,700.
During interactions with MILIA, police identified his alleged narcotics supplier, ANTHONY DIXON, of the Bronx, whom officers observed accompanying MILIA in the vicinity of Washington Square Park. An undercover allegedly began purchasing narcotics directly from DIXON in January 2017 and continued into April 2017. On 10 separate dates, DIXON allegedly sold varying amounts of cocaine, heroin, a mixture of cocaine and fentanyl and a mixture of heroin and fentanyl for a total of $17,700.
Fentanyl is a dangerously potent synthetic opioid that is approximately 50 times stronger than heroin and is increasingly found mixed into the illicit narcotics supply. It is driving a spike in fatal overdoses, which reached an all-time high of approximately 1,300 deaths in New York City in 2016. This is a 30% increase over 2015. The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene attributed more than half of these deaths to fentanyl.
DIXON met with the undercover in the vicinity of East 85th Street and Third Avenue in the Upper East Side of Manhattan, 125th Street in Harlem and in the Bronx. He is charged with conducting sales near school grounds, including The Ramaz Middle School on East 85th Street, P.S. 169 on East 88th Street, Harlem Children’s Zone facilities on East 125th Street, P.S. 87 on West 125th Street and Democracy Prep Charter on West 127th Street.
Police also identified a conspiracy involving another individual who supplied narcotics to both DIXON and defendant MARTIN MOLINA, a resident of the Aladdin Hotel on West 45th Street in Manhattan, which houses a homeless shelter.
During intercepted phone calls, DIXON and his coconspirators used coded language to discuss narcotics sales. MOLINA referred to cocaine as “candy” and told his supplier, “No complaints. They liking it. They liking the flavor.”
On Wednesday, NYPD officers conducted court authorized searches at several locations, including DIXON’s residence at 510 East 156th Street, Apt. 16D in the Bronx, where police recovered a firearm and quantities of heroin and cocaine.
Police also conducted a court authorized search of a smoke shop located at 59 West 8th Street near Washington Square Park that was frequented by the defendants during the investigation. The search of the shop yielded multiple kilo presses, which are typically used in the packaging of large quantities of narcotics, and empty glassine envelopes commonly used for drug packaging that were stamped with the brand name “Black Jack.” One individual, HAKIM GUENFOUD, was arrested at the smoke shop and was charged with two counts of Criminal Use of Drug Paraphernalia in the Second Degree. He was arraigned in Criminal Court last night.
DIXON and MOLINA are named together in an indictment that includes charges of Conspiracy in the Second Degree, Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the First Degree, Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Second Degree, Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree and Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in or Near School Grounds.
A separate indictment charges MILIA with Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Second Degree, Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree, Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in or Near School Grounds, Grand Larceny in the Fourth Degree and Sale of an Imitation Controlled Substance.
Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget G. Brennan thanked her office’s Trial Division, the New York City Police Department’s (NYPD) Narcotics Borough Manhattan South Major Case Unit and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr.
The charges and allegations are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent until