An alleged heroin processing den on Barker Avenue was busted after a radio call to the apartment resulted in the arrests of ten young men.
After officers responded to a 911 call over a dispute with a knife on Friday, April 15, the men in their late teens and early twenties found inside of apartment 7K of 2275 Barker Avenue were charged with numerous counts of criminal possession of drugs and weapons.
Police arrived at the location and found two loaded guns and 770 bags of heroin when they entered the apartment, said 49th Precinct Community Affairs Officer Victor DiPierro.
After placing everyone in the apartment under arrest, police obtained a search warrant and found more heroin in coffee grinders and 1,351 zip-lock bags, as well as another three loaded handguns.
“This just happened as a radio run after a call about a dispute involving a knife in the apartment,” DiPierro said. “When the officers arrived on the scene and announced their presence, they entered the apartment and found a semi-automatic weapon camouflaged on a chair and glassine envelopes filled with heroin in plain sight.”
Police charged Jose Gonzalez-Ortega, 21; Yeltsin Beltran, 19; Ray Sanchez, 22; Shpendim Haxhaj, 19; Jose Garcia, 24; Jose Gonzalez, 19; John Espinal, 21; Jesse Nieves, 20; David Levy, 19; and Jonathan Encarnacion, 22, with numerous felony counts of criminal possession of drugs and weapons.
The alleged drug dealing appears to have taken place elsewhere.
“Generally speaking this is a very quiet block, so they probably were just using this apartment as their headquarters,” said 49th Precinct Community Council president Joe Thompson. “Heroin is a very debilitating drug, and it is usually very easy to recognize someone who is addicted to it because it can make a person almost comatose.”
Particularly disturbing is that the building is down the street from P.S. 96, located at 650 Waring Avenue, Thompson said.
“We are elated that this group has been apprehended. It is great that they took this place out before someone found out where it was and went over there to rip it off,” Thompson stated. “They caught them before that happened and were able to make arrests, and anytime something like that happens, you just have to say it is great, because they might have saved lives by taking this group out.”
Violence related to drugs is just as probable at a location like this one as where the dealing was taking place, because if it is discovered by other drug dealers, they will often use deadly force to rob others, Thompson explained.