24 arrested in Nyack drug bust

April 9, 2008 4:42:28 PM PDT
Two dozen people were arrested in a major drugs and guns bust in Rockland County. Investigators say the suspects worked out of an apartment building in Nyack and, apparently, bragged about their operation on the popular Web site YouTube.

Eyewitness News reporter Marcus Solis has the story.

The "Building 3" mentioned in the YouTube clip is an actual place, and it's also the name of the of alleged drug gang.

Police on Wednesday arrested 24 members of the Building 3 Crew, a loosely-linked group that authorities say sold drugs in the Nyack Plaza apartments. Authorities say that during the eight-month investigation, they recovered four kilos of cocaine, marijuana, more than $30,000 in cash, guns and bullet-proof vests.

"This is dangerous business," Rockland County Executive Scott Vanderhoef said. "These guns and these bullet-proof vests...indicate the level of sincerity of being bad guys that the people who were arrested this morning were."

The investigation was called Operation Ghostrider after one of the alleged main players, Rahiem Williams, who is nicknamed Ghost. Police say tapping his cell phone led them to the New York City supplier.

"We no longer tried to infiltrate the network, because they wouldn't deal with anyone outside of who they actually knew," state police Captain Joseph Tripodo said. "We kept that part of the investigation on ice, if you will, and then went up on the eavesdropping warrants."

Police say the operation employed many friends and relatives, including 68-year-old Walter White, who allegedly sold drugs out of a senior citizens building. It was a development where evidence of drug activity is easy to spot. The manager of the property says residents are ecstatic over the arrests.

"I don't think they lived in fear, but it was becoming uncomfortable," Joyce McCormick said. "The drug situation was just getting out of hand."

Police say wiretaps were crucial to the arrests. They say 12 cell phones monitored more than 50,000 conversations. They say they are looking to make four more arrests.