“There’s a growing heroin epidemic in New York and other parts of the country that’s taking the lives of many of our young people hooked on this deadly and highly-addictive drug,” said Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson. “We must deal with this quiet drug plague by going after those who peddle this poison in our communities.”
Thompson and NYPD Commissioner William Bratton announced a 368-count indictment against 25 individuals accused of running a heroin ring in New York City. He was allegedly supplied by his brother, Jose, cousin, Gustavo Taveras, another cousin, Christian Rodriguez and Jose Sosa. The drugs were packaged and shipped by his sister, Sheila Taveras, 26. Tavera’s mother, Haydee Cordero, 46, of Williamsburg allegedly laundered proceeds by depositing cash from heroin sales in her bank account.
According to ABC7, the dope hit the streets with brand names like “Knockout,” “Takeover,” “Power Hour,” “Killing Time,” “Pure,” “Gucci” and “Scorpion.” Suspecting ringleader, Josie Tavera, 25, used family members and others to flood Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and Manhattan. The heroin operation, which moved their supply in cereal boxes, is said to have made $1.5 million last year. Dozens of distributors offed about 25,000 packs per month.
Two others named in the indictment were unlikely participants in the drug game. ABC7 reports:
In addition to Tavera’s family, two other key defendants were identified as 36-year-old Jason Collazo and 37-year-old Michael Mineo, both of Staten Island. Collazo, who works in the Midtown Manhattan Community Court as a community service supervisor, allegedly used the court’s phone to coordinate heroin transactions, purchased heroin from Tavera, and distributed it to several individuals in Brooklyn and Staten Island, including Mineo, who has studied substance abuse at the College of Staten Island and has identified himself to police as a drug counselor.
The defendants face charges of conspiracy, sale and possession of a controlled substance and money laundering.