Open Air Drug Market Disrupted in Washington Heights: 13 Members and Associates of the “Six Block” Gang Arrested

Bridget G. Brennan, New York City’s Special Narcotics Prosecutor, and New York City Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill announced today the indictment and arrests of 13 individuals as a result of a long-term investigation into criminal street gang involvement in an open air drug market operating in the Washington Heights section of Manhattan.

Beginning last night and continuing this morning, members of the New York City Police Department’s (NYPD) Manhattan North Gang Squad arrested 13 members and associates of the “Six Block” gang, which is based in the vicinity of 160th to 167th Streets, between Broadway and Fort Washington Avenue. The defendants, most in their 20s and early 30s, face charges related to 48 sales of oxycodone, cocaine, heroin, alprazolam (commonly known by the brand name Xanax) and marijuana to undercover officers since April of 2016.

Nine indictments filed by the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor charge the 13 defendants with multiple counts of Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the First, Second, Third and Fifth Degrees, and Criminal Sale of Marijuana in the Third and Fourth Degrees. Arraignments are scheduled for today before Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Abraham Clott, Part 22, 111 Centre, 9th floor.

A fourteenth defendant is charged in a criminal complaint and is expected to be arraigned in Manhattan Criminal Court.

The eight-month investigation focused on an open air drug market that catered to customers during rush hour and into the evening, from approximately 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Most of the sales in the case took place on 163rd Street near Broadway, and were set up through calls and text messages. Customers also approached the defendants on the sidewalks.

The defendants sold nearly $24,000 in drugs to undercover officers during the investigation, which also involved surveillance and an examination of social media postings, including images of the defendants flashing gang signs and money.

In the largest sale, on October 25, 2016 FRANCISCO GOMEZ and NOLAN MUNOZ allegedly sold an undercover officer approximately 64 grams of cocaine to an undercover officer inside 530 West 163rd Street for $2,750. GOMEZ, 35, and MUNOZ, 33, grew suspicious of the undercover officer and searched the officer before completing the sale.

Earlier that month, on October 10, 2016 MUNOZ brought a child of approximately seven years of age along on a sale. In one of a handful of transactions that occurred outside of Six Block territory, MUNOZ drove to 735 Walton Avenue in the Bronx and sold 19 grams of cocaine to an undercover officer for $900 while the child was present in the vehicle.

During the investigation, police learned that a father and son team, ERIC WIGGINS Sr., 50, and ERIC WIGGINS Jr., 22, allegedly supplied cocaine and pills to several other drug dealers in the area. WIGGINS Sr. frequently sold out of his car and stored drugs in a cooler in his trunk. ERIC WIGGINS Jr. was in possession of 67 pills of oxycodone at the time of his arrest.

Another sizeable sale took place on September 21, 2016, when ALEX ANDUJAR, 22, sold nearly 62 grams of cocaine to an undercover officer for $2,710 at a McDonald’s parking lot at 2516 White Plains Road in the Bronx.

This morning ANDUJAR was arrested at 690 Allerton Ave., Apt. 25W in the Bronx, the home of his girlfriend, GARDENIA HERNANDEZ. As police arrived at the apartment, officers observed HERNANDEZ throw a quantity of cocaine and drug paraphernalia out the window. HERNANDEZ was arrested with ANDUJAR and charged with Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance.

Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget G. Brennan thanked her office’s Trial Division, the New York City Police Department’s Manhattan North Gang Squad and the New York County District Attorney’s Crime Strategies Unit.

“Today, working with our partners in the NYPD and Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, we cleared more than a dozen members of a drug dealing group that claimed ownership of a “Six Block” swath of upper Manhattan, clogging a busy thoroughfare during rush hour with open narcotics trafficking, and returned the area to the community,” Bridget G. Brennan said. “Every resident in this city is entitled to travel our streets and enjoy scarce public spaces free of drug peddling and all of the crime that accompanies it.”

The charges and allegations are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

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

Stephen Davis
New York City Police Department
(646) 610-6700