Police bust UES heroin mill

March 7, 2008 3:03:56 PM PST
A thriving heroin processing and packaging mill located on the Upper East Side has been shut down by police, according to authorities. NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly and other law enforcement officials announced the dismantling of the mill Friday.

Authorities say that during the past three days, investigators arrested seven individuals. They include a kilo level heroin supplier who packaged heroin and his associate, four retail narcotic dealers and a Manhattan Court Officer who appeared to be a heroin purchaser.

Police say Juan Pablo Ramos referred to apartment 2B of 242 East 75th Street in the Upper East Side of Manhattan as "the office," and he and associates ground down kilograms of heroin, packaging it into glassine envelopes in a studio which overlooks the playground of the Robert F. Wagner Middle School.

It is estimated that the organization was distributing more than four kilograms of heroin per month, grossing approximately $4 million per year. The heroin was allegedly sold wholesale to street level dealers in the Upper East Side, West Village, Gramercy Park and East Harlem, already packaged in $10 bags.

The investigation reportedly began with an arrest for a street-level sale by Manhattan South Narcotics detectives, and was coordinated with the Special Narcotics Prosecutors Office and Drug Enforcement Task Force on identifying the source of supply.

Arrested on Wednesday were Juan Pablo Ramos and Armando Leal, both Colombian nationals. Ramos was the main target of the seven-month investigation. He was apprehended when a New York Drug Enforcement Task Force team conducted search operations at the Manhattan apartment and Ramos's $5,600 a month rental apartment in New Jersey.

Police say Ramos was taking heroin from an open safe and setting up to package it into glassine bags when police gained entry to the 75th Street location. Approximately 1.5 kilos of heroin, valued at more than $100,000, were recovered from the safe along with glassine bags and other drug paraphernalia, police said.

Late Thursday night, investigators and detectives arrested Irene Andriani, Olga Gioe, Luis Gautier and Michael Joseph Rivello, all believed to be heroin retailers who purchased bundles of hundreds of glassines of heroin from the organization for resale to individual purchasers.

Also arrested was Manhattan Court Officer William Moser, who was apprehended along with Andriani at a supermarket at 130 Bleeker Street. He is believed to be a customer of Andriani.

Police say Moser had three glassines of heroin in his possession worth $30 and had his court-issued firearm at the time of his arrest.

Ramos is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance. Bail was set at $300,000.