Five Bronx men were arrested last week for crack distribution in Times Square and face life in prison.
Johnny Perez, 37, Aaron Starks, 36, David Mial, 32, Frayvon Young, 34, Robert Mason, 39, and Donnell Bruns, 42, all of the Bronx, were each charged on Aug. 10 with one count of conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute 280 grams and more of mixtures and substances containing a detectable amount of crack cocaine.
“As alleged, the defendants operated a veritable 24-hour open-air bazaar for the sale of crack cocaine in Times Square,” said Manhattan U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss. “We recall the bad old days of a much seedier Times Square that was unwelcoming, and we are committed to working with our law enforcement partners to ensure that those days remain just a memory.”
According to the investigation, between December 2019 and August 2021, the defendants sold crack cocaine nearly around-the-clock in the vicinity of 43rd Street and 8th Avenue in Manhattan, near Times Square. One ‘shift’ arrived in the late morning and made sales through the late afternoon, and then other defendants arrived and sold through the evening and nighttime.
Although there was no set composition of defendants for the two shifts, Starks was often present and overseeing the first shift, and Perez was often present and overseeing the second shift.
An undercover law enforcement officer purchased quantities of crack cocaine from the defendants on dozens of occasions, including multiple purchases from each defendant. Surveillance showed nearly continuous sales from the late morning through the nighttime and shift changes.
In addition, surveillance video showed the defendants conducting hundreds of hand-to-hand sales of crack cocaine. For example, during a period of 11 days in March and April 2021, the defendants conducted more than 650 hand-to-hand sales. In January 2020, law enforcement officers arrested Starks in the Times Square area and seized from him approximately 312 capsules of crack cocaine and 52 twists of crack cocaine.