According to law enforcement officials, an 18-month investigation has culminated in the arrest of multiple drug dealers who ran a 24-hour open-air crack cocaine market in Times Square.
The investigation, dubbed “Ghostbusters,” used surveillance footage and undercover officers to uncover the drug ring. The suspects set up on the corner of 43rd Street and Eighth Avenue, where they sold the drugs around the clock. It’s estimated they were raking in around $10,000 a week.
According to officials, the crew sold drugs in the area from December 2019 until last month. They worked in shifts, with the first shift beginning in the late morning. The second shift would take over in the late afternoon and continue late into the night.
Six of the eight suspects were in custody as of Monday night. They are Johnny Perez, who goes by “Ghost,” Aaron Starks, nicknamed “Duke,” Sekou Simpson, who goes by “Tre,” Fred Johnson, who goes by “Trinny,” Donnell Bruns, also known as “Mac,” and Davon Mial, dubbed “Smooth.” Frayvon Young, also known as “Harlem,” and Robert Mason, are not yet in custody.
Search warrants executed at three of the suspects homes turned up about 500 grams of crack, pots and pans with residue, and scales. They also recovered large sums of money and a cash counter.
“This crew gave new meaning to the slogan for New York City as the ‘city that never sleeps,’ by allegedly operating a 24-hour drug distribution ring,” Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations Peter Fitzhugh said in a statement.
The investigation was a joint effort between the US Attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York, Homeland Security Investigations, and the New York City Police Department.
If convicted, the men face a minimum of 10 years in prison up to life sentences.