New York, NY - December 21, 2015 - Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson, together with James J. Hunt, Special Agent in Charge of the New York Division of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), New York City Police Commissioner William J. Bratton and Joseph D’Amico, Superintendent of the New York State Police, today announced that nine defendants have been variously charged in a 281-count indictment with conspiracy, sale and possession of a controlled substance and criminal possession of a weapon for operating a lucrative heroin distribution ring in Brooklyn, Queens, Nassau and Suffolk Counties.
District Attorney Thompson said, “There's a growing heroin epidemic spreading throughout our city and country that’s destroying lives and families. This is the second heroin distribution operation that we dismantled in recent months and we intend to continue to do our part to save lives by taking down anyone who deals heroin in Brooklyn.”
DEA Special Agent in Charge James Hunt said, “Chaaibi used legitimate business marketing for illegitimate drug sales. By branding his cut of heroin “Two-Way”, he attracted and retained customers; some who drove far distances in order to purchase his product in bulk for resale on the street. Last week, the CDC released data reporting that in 2014 there were a record number of overdoses, over 47,000 overdose deaths mostly due to opioid pain relievers and heroin. This case is just one of many that exemplify drug law enforcement’s efforts to investigate and dismantle drug trafficking organizations, like the Chaaibi organization, responsible for fueling heroin addiction and overdose deaths."
New York State Police Superintendent D’Amico said, “I commend the efforts of our members and our law enforcement partners who were able to bring these criminals to justice and keep dangerous drugs off our streets. A drug like heroin destroys communities and puts lives at risk. We will continue to work with our partners to bring these criminals to justice and make sure they get the message that this will not be tolerated in our state.”
The District Attorney said that the investigation was conducted using electronic, video and physical surveillance, and that the indictment charges that between September 2014 and this month the defendants conspired to possess and sell heroin in Brooklyn, Queens and across Long Island. The ring allegedly sold a single “brand” of heroin, called “TWO WAY,” and used custom-made stickers to identify it on the glassines it distributed.
District Attorney Thompson identified the ringleader as Mohamed Chaaibi, 27, of Glendale, Queens. It is alleged that he supplied the heroin and coordinated all the transactions, in Brooklyn and elsewhere, by taking calls from buyers and sending couriers to prearranged locations where sales were conducted.
Miguel Alcaide, 30, of Brownsville, Brooklyn, Dixon Mercado, 42, and Brandon Alvarez, 20, both of Ridgewood, Queens, allegedly acted as runners or couriers who supplied heroin to other named defendants who then re-sold it to their own customers. Kimberly Wong, 32, of Ridgewood, Queens, is a realtor who allegedly helped Chaaibi with proceeds of narcotic sales, assisted him in finding cheap properties for rent and kept a stash of heroin in her residence to use when his runners ran low. Marius Kaczmarczyk, 39, of Maspeth, Queens is allegedly a heroin user who would test the product for Chaaibi and report back his findings.
The defendants were arraigned last week and today before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Ruth Shillingford. They are variously charged in a 281-count indictment with second-degree conspiracy, second- and third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance, third-, fourth- and seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, second- and third-degree criminal possession of a weapon, criminal possession of a firearm and aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle. Chaaibi is additionally charged with operating as a major trafficker. The defendants face a maximum sentence of up to life in prison if convicted of the top count with which they are charged. Several additional defendants are being sought.
It is alleged that many of the transactions were conducted in parking lots near exits along the Long Island Expressway. Those included gas stations and a Dunkin’ Donuts shop at Exit 19, gas stations at Exit 25, a Dunkin’ Donuts, CVS pharmacy and gas stations at Exit 37 and a gas station at Exit 56. Other sale locations included street corners in Bushwick, Bay Ridge, Crown Heights and Cobble Hill, Brooklyn.
Cell phone conversations that were intercepted in the course of the investigation showed that the defendants repeatedly discussed the quality of their product, customers’ assessment of its potency and its effectiveness when consumed by snorting versus shooting with a needle.
Finally, a search warrant that was executed at Chaaibi’s residence recovered a loaded .380 firearm and drug paraphernalia with heroin residue. Another search warrant executed at a stash house used by the trafficking ring recovered approximately 13 ounces of uncut heroin, about 2,000 glassines of heroin marked with the “TWO WAY” brand, drug paraphernalia and over 20 cell phones. A total of six guns were recovered during the course of the investigation.
The case was investigated by the DEA’s New York Drug Enforcement Task Force (NYDETF), which is comprised of DEA special agents, NYPD detectives and New York State police investigators.
Assistant District Attorneys Maria Schiavone, Gillian DiPietro and Maria Park of the District Attorney’s Violent Criminal Enterprises Bureau are prosecuting the case under the supervision of Assistant District Attorneys Jonathan R. Sennett and Tara Lenich, Deputy Bureau Chiefs, and Assistant District Attorney Nicole Chavis, Bureau Chief, and the overall supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney William E. Schaeffer, Chief of the District Attorney’s Investigations Division.
- Mohamed Chaaibi (Mo), 27, of Queens.
- Miguel Alcaide (Chippy), 30, of Brooklyn.
- Dixon Mercado (Dickie), 42, of Queens.
- Kimberly Wong, 32, of Queens.
- Brandon Alvarez, 20, of Queens.
- Carlos Rodriguez (DJ Cel), 33, of Medford, Suffolk County.
- Mariusz Kaczmarczyk (Mashud), 39, of Queens.
- Christina Picciano, 34, of Lake Ronkonkoma, Suffolk County.
- Andres Fernandez (Dre), 29, of Queens.
An indictment is an accusatory instrument and not proof of a defendant’s guilt.