Young girl arrested; accused of selling drugs

August 20, 2010 12:37:50 PM PDT
New York City police have made a stunning arrest - a young girl from Queens is now charged with selling drugs.

She was 12 Wednesday when she was arrested, but turned 13 Thursday.

She's accused of selling marijuana and crack cocaine, and was arrested in a major drug sweep.

Even investigators were shocked by the arrest.

It is disheartening, residents say, because the girl used to be more involved with activities like dance and jump rope at her local community center. She is now accused of dealing the drugs on Beach Channel Drive.

"She's actually a pretty nice young lady. I'm actually really, really, really surprised to hear that she's involved in this activity," said Rahiem Newkirk, Youth Program Coordinator.

But no one is all that surprised that someone so young would turn to dealing drugs. At the Ocean Bay Houses and the Ocean Village Apartments, residents tell Eyewitness News that gangs run everything and say some kids are as young as 7 and 8 when they start running guns and drugs for their older brothers and sisters.

"It's sad, but any individual - young, old - if you start selling drugs period, it's just wrong," said Donald Zigler.

Jeffrey Butts studies trends in juvenile crime. He says the number of pre-teens committing all drug offenses is on the rise across the country. Nearly 200,000 thousand teenagers between ages 13 and 17 have been charged in those crimes.

"And it's not an acute problem that's suddenly growing in an unprecedented way. We've always had youth crime, and the bottom end of the age distribution has always frightened us," said Butts.

Those at this community center are left to wonder could they somehow have offered one girl more.