Police snuff out notorious Harlem pot spot: Two indicted for selling bulk quantities of marijuana and firearms

Over $35,000 in marijuana, four guns and $21,000 cash seized, along with two pitbulls and large

BRIDGET G. BRENNAN, New York City’s Special Narcotics Prosecutor, and RAYMOND W. KELLY, New York City Police Commissioner, announced today the arrest and indictment of two drug traffickers in connection with two sales of firearms to an undercover officer in Harlem and 10 sales of bulk quantities of marijuana. The high-volume marijuana trafficking operation was based inside an apartment building at 1 East 124th St., directly across the street from a playground at Marcus Garvey Park.

The arrests, which took place yesterday afternoon, were the result of an eight-month investigation by the NYPD's Narcotics Borough Manhattan North that began in April 2013. During a series of court-authorized searches yesterday, police seized an additional two guns and more than 20 pounds of marijuana, as well as two pit bull dogs and an eight-foot python that were kept inside the basement at 1 East 124th St.

An indictment charges the defendants, MARK HANSEN and MANUEL BEY, in connection with 10 drug sales to an undercover officer, totaling more than six pounds for $9,200. Five sales involved approximately a pound of marijuana or more, with the price per pound set at $1,200. Beyond the marijuana transactions, HANSEN and BEY each sold a firearm to the undercover officer. HANSEN brokered both of these sales, for which he and BEY collected a total of $1,700. The defendants are expected to be arraigned this morning before Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Robert M. Stolz.

Yesterday afternoon, police conducted a series of court authorized searches of the basement at 1 East 124th St and of the defendants' homes and vehicles. Upon arriving at the basement at 1 East 124th St., officers encountered two pit bull dogs and a large python inside an aquarium. Once the animals were secured, officers recovered a loaded revolver, several pounds of marijuana packaged for sale and approximately $1,200 in cash. The animals were transferred to the custody of the ASPCA.

Another firearm was recovered from BEY's residence at 1333 Bristow St., Apt. 3, in the Bronx. Along with the unloaded pistol, police seized two high-capacity ammunition feeding devices with bullets, approximately one pound of marijuana, drug packaging materials and over $19,200 in cash.

A search of HANSEN's residence at 539 Van Nest Ave., Apt. 1R, yielded approximately 20 pounds of marijuana, mostly pre-packaged in large zips, stuffed in a suitcase in a bedroom. Additionally, several large construction buckets were filled with pre-packaged large zips of marijuana. A work-station was set up in the bedroom with a table, scale and packaging materials.

Two additional arrests were made yesterday afternoon. HANSEN's wife LACE RAMSEY was arrested outside 1 East 124th Street. BEY's brother CHRISTOPHER BEY, who was inside HANSEN's apartment when police arrived to conduct the search, was also arrested. His belongings were found at MANUEL BEY'S residence. Both LACE RAMSEY and CHRISTOPHER BEY will be charged in criminal complaints and arraigned in Manhattan Criminal Court.

The bustling marijuana business operated by MARK HANSEN and MANUEL BEY was the subject of numerous community complaints dating back at least three years. They operated seven days per week, from approximately 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Customers lined up in the first floor hallway of 1 East 124th St. to make their purchases. HANSEN and BEY conducted transactions from behind a steel door that led from the hallway to the building's basement. The pair received money through a slot in the door and provided marijuana in the same fashion. Residents were forced to walk past the line of customers on their way to their apartments.

In connection with the first gun sale, which took place on Aug. 1, the undercover officer placed the order with HANSEN by phone. At HANSEN's request, the undercover met HANSEN at 1 East 124th St. and then travelled several blocks to W 119th Street and 5th Avenue before exchanging $900 cash for the firearm, a .9 mm Hi-Point C-9 semi-automatic pistol, with a defaced serial number.

The second firearm sale, on Aug. 21, took place inside the lobby at 1 East 124th St. The undercover officer placed the order with HANSEN, but it was BEY who met the undercover in the lobby. BEY wore rubber surgical gloves to handle the firearm, a .9 mm semi-automatic Ruger P95, with a defaced serial number. BEY then used one of the gloves as a bag for ammunition, which he provided to the undercover. The undercover paid $800.

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

Download Press Release (pdf)
Contacts:

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

John J. McCarthy
New York Police Department
(646) 610-6700

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