A huge drug bust around two Allerton apartment complexes is raising hope for local residents.
Although it is uncertain as to how long drug dealing has actually been occurring in the Parkside Houses and the Allerton Avenue Coops, the 49th Precinct began investigating the matter after four young men were murdered in the vicinity of the area during the 2010 summer for drug related issues.
Deputy Inspector Kevin Nicholson began the case and Detective Diana Spangenberg led the investigation that resulted in the arrest of 34 crack cocaine dealers that lived in or around the apartment complexes on Tuesday, December 13.
“These arrests are very big for this entire community. We have been onto these guys for a long time and it’s great to finally have them behind bars,” Nicholson said. “I knew from the beginning we were going to lock them up, but I kept telling the residents to just be patient and that we would handle the situation as quick as possible. These arrests will certainly benefit the neighborhood.”
Nicholson also said that each dealer was known to be making around $300,000 annually by selling mostly crack and some marijuana. He also said that 27 of the individuals lived in the Parkside Houses, while the other seven lived in the Allerton Avenue Coops, known as the “Coops.”
According to the United States Drug Enforcement Administration, the NYPD had made over 150 undercover purchases at the locations totaling approximately 500 grams of crack from the individuals since 2006.
Parkside resident and Community Board 11 member Janice Walcott has been concerned over the drug dealing since the four young men were murdered last year. Although she was growing impatient, Walcott said that Nicholson and the officers of the precinct promised that arrests would be made when the time was right.
“All of us tenants were concerned more than ever after those young men were killed, and I had asked Inspector Nicholson to please get to the bottom of it,” Walcott said. “It took a little longer than most of us hoped for, but we could not be happier with these drug dealers being locked up. We hope that this is the start of a better time for all of the tenants.”
Walcott said she received a call from Nicholson immediately after the arrests were made. Upon returning home from work that evening, Walcott said the courtyard inside the complex, which was often infested with drug dealers and suspicious characters, was empty and quiet for the first time in years.
“We appreciate the work that he (Nicholson) and the other officers are doing,” she said. “I hope that this puts a dent into these types of operations and teaches a lesson for people who think they can come into our community and deal drugs like this.”Reach Vito Signorile via e-mail at vsignorile