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More than 2 dozen arrested on Drug Charges in NYC following a ICE and HSI wiretap investigation

August 6,2018

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

New York NY, Thirty-two individuals were arrested Friday on narcotics and gambling charges following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in New York, working jointly with The New York City Police Department (NYPD). The investigation, being prosecuted out of New York City’s Special Narcotics Prosecutor’s Office, uncovered a large-scale alleged cocaine and heroin distribution network centered in the East Village and a related gambling operation located in a busy commercial district near West 11th Street and Avenue of the Americas in the West Village.

Beginning early Friday morning, 32 individuals were arrested in New York City, Massachusetts, Georgia and Florida. An indictment filed by the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor (SNP) for the City of New York follows a long-term wiretap investigation by HSI and NYPD’s Narcotics Borough Manhattan South, Gang Squad Manhattan South and Vice Squad.

“Those arrested today are not just alleged to have been involved in selling highly addictive drugs on city streets, but they are also connected with a sophisticated underground gambling operation right here in Manhattan,” said Angel M. Melendez, Special Agent in Charge of HSI New York. “Law enforcement always seeks to build on their investigations, consistently seeking to connect the dots. As we continue to work jointly in these operations, HSI and NYPD are able to combine intel and resources to takedown criminal networks like this one.”

Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill said, “The illegal behavior outlined in today’s indictment will never be tolerated in New York City by the NYPD or any of our law enforcement partners. I commend the attorneys and the investigators at the Office of Special Narcotics Prosecutor and Homeland Security Investigations, along with our Narcotics, Gang and Vice detectives, for demonstrating time and again that we are patient, and that our collaborative forces have a long reach. We will continue to be relentless in our mission to dismantle these types of illicit operations and bring the criminals who run them to justice.”
Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget G. Brennan said, “The disparate criminal schemes orchestrated by this sophisticated and treacherous organization shared a single motivation: greed. Both the gambling operation and the narcotics enterprise charged in the indictment unsealed today preyed on vulnerabilities. While it may be tempting to discount these schemes as victimless crimes, we have learned that drug addiction often leads to overdose and gambling debt to suicide.”

The investigation began with cocaine and heroin trafficking and ultimately led police to a sophisticated illegal gambling operation that catered to a clientele of New York City professionals. The indictment identifies David Diaz as the head of both the narcotics distribution network and the gambling operation, which included the Poker House located at 446 Avenue of the Americas and an online gambling business. DIAZ allegedly ran these interconnected narcotics and gambling operations with assistance from two top associates. Defendant Benjamin Guerrero, maintained an alleged drug stash apartment in a residence occupied by family members at 536 East 5th Street in the East Village and oversaw the packaging and sales of narcotics. Guerrero also served as a “pit boss” for the West Village Poker House. Defendant Geeta Singh, aka “Mira,” served as a manager and promoter for the gambling operation.
Early Friday, NYPD officers and HSI agents conducted court authorized searches in 19 locations, including the alleged drug stash location at 536 East 5th Street and the Poker House at 446 Avenue of the Americas. Police recovered a handgun, a shotgun, an air rifle, a kilogram of suspected cocaine (over two pounds), quantities of heroin, several pounds of marijuana and approximately 2,000 pills of suspected Xanax. Approximately $125,000 cash, multiple money counters, gambling records, thousands of poker chips and two vehicles were also seized during court authorized searches.

Narcotics Operation
At the outset of the investigation in November of 2017, defendants Anthony Delea and Lewis Castro, both alleged members of the Diaz narcotics operation, made multiple narcotics sales to an undercover NYPD officer. On more than one occasion, members of an NYPD surveillance team observed Delea and Castro exit 446 Avenue of the Americas in possession of narcotics prior to making a sale to an undercover. Only later did narcotics investigators learn the address housed a gambling operation.

A clear picture of two interrelated narcotics and gambling schemes emerged once the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor and the NYPD initiated a four-month wiretap investigation with assistance from HSI New York and the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office. The wiretap investigation initially focused on Castro and expanded to include Guerrero, Diaz and alleged narcotics suppliers Dante Rodriguez, Moliek Hudson and Edward Aigbojie.
As detailed in the indictment, a total of nine defendants are charged with engaging in 25 narcotics sales with undercover officers and additional sales to other individuals. Defendants used coded language to discuss narcotics transactions by phone. While several undercover sales took place in the vicinity of the West Village Poker House, the majority occurred in the vicinity of 536 East 5th Street drug stash apartment and elsewhere in the East Village. Defendant Luis Chevres, aka “Presulo,” allegedly sold narcotics to an undercover officer on multiple occasions at a barbershop located at 2nd Avenue and Houston Street. Several of the larger drug sales involved undercover officers purchasing nearly $5,000 in cocaine and heroin at a time. In all, the defendants sold approximately $50,000 in narcotics to undercover officers.
Diaz and Guerrero allegedly received drug deliveries Rodriguez, who resides in Yonkers, N.Y., Hudson, who is based Deltona, Fla., and Aigbojie, who resides in Brooklyn. AIGBOJIE allegedly served as a middleman for Hudson and was also an avid gambler at the Poker House.

Gambling Operation
While the narcotics-related investigation was underway, an NYPD undercover officer with the VICE Squad successfully penetrated the West Village gambling house and participated in poker games with the regular clientele. As a result of the combined efforts of the undercover operation and the wiretap investigation, police were able to identify the hierarchy and methods of the gambling operation.
As charged in the indictment, Diaz allegedly oversaw the entirety of the gambling operation, while Guerrero serving as “pit boss” on multiple nights per week. Guerrero’s brother, defendant Alberto Guerrero allegedly held accounts associated with the Poker House in his name and received income from the gambling operation. Alberto Guerrero, who resides in Amherst, Mass., and Diaz are charged with money laundering in the second degree.
The Poker House operated from 4 p.m. to 4 a.m. and consisted of two floors that accommodated approximately 30 players at a time. Players at lower stakes tables on the first floor were required to purchase a minimum of $200 in chips, while higher stakes players upstairs were required to purchase $500 in chips. Each game lasted two hours, enabling tens of thousands of dollars to change hands in a single night. Players who left before the two hours were up forfeited their chips. Proceeds of the illegal gambling operation were used to fund further narcotics trafficking.
The entrée for Poker House clients was through defendant Geeta Singh, aka “Mira,” who managed and promoted the gambling operation remotely from her residence in Atlanta, Ga. and oversaw a related online poker business. Among the methods Singh allegedly used to draw high stakes clientele were event listings through the online service Meetup. Clientele for the poker games were thoroughly vetted and were required to show a text message from Singh in order to gain entrance to the Poker House.

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December 9, 2017
the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, just a reminder if you are traveling in and out of the city today ,be it for SantCon or not ,NJ TRANSIT is prohibiting liquid beverages on all of its trains, light rail vehicles and buses on Saturday December 9th and the early morning of Sunday December 10th to coincide with the annual SantaCon event in New York City.

NJT says ,”This policy will be strictly enforced. ”

Reminder: All beverages, including alcohol, are not permitted on NJ TRANSIT buses at any time regardless of event.

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New Jersey Posts a Better Than Expected Economic Growth Rate


November 29,2017

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood Nj, The United States economy has been in a period of encouraging, consistent growth for several years now. According to 24/7 Wall Street ,the U.S. GDP has now increased uninterrupted for 14 straight quarters. The stock market continues to hit new all-time highs with yesterday marking the 61st closing high since Donald Trump became president , and the unemployment rate fell to 4.1% in October, the lowest it has been since the year 2000. Based on the most recent quarterly estimates from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the growth or lack there of, of American state economies over the past three years more or less the time since the last nationwide quarterly economic contraction. Nationwide, GDP grew by 2.2% over the three years ending in the second quarter of 2017.

Using data provided by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, 24/7 Wall St. ranked all 50 U.S. states based on percent changes in real GDP growth in all 50 states from the second quarter of 2014 through the second quarter of 2017. and the U.S. Figures provided are adjusted to account for yearly inflation. GDP figures published by the BEA are preliminary and subject to annual revision. Figures on poverty rate, median household income, and educational attainment came from the American Community Survey. Employment and unemployment metrics were provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics

New Jersey came in a better than expected 38th place while its neighbor to the north Connecticut came in 46th . New York came in 32nd and Pennsylvania came in a a respectable 27th.

38. New Jersey
> 3-year GDP growth: +0.9%
> Q2 2017 GDP growth: +2.3% (tied — 16th smallest increase)
> Fastest growing industry: Agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting
> Fastest shrinking industry: Utilities
> 3-year employment growth: +3.4% (17th smallest increase)

46. Connecticut
> 3-year GDP growth: +0.3%
> Q2 2017 GDP growth: +1.4% (6th smallest increase)
> Fastest growing industry: Mining
> Fastest shrinking industry: Nondurable goods manufacturing
> 3-year employment growth: +4.2% (23rd smallest increase)

32. New York
> 3-year GDP growth: +1.4%
> Q2 2017 GDP growth: +1.2% (tied — 4th smallest increase)
> Fastest growing industry: Information
> Fastest shrinking industry: Nondurable goods manufacturing
> 3-year employment growth: +2.7% (13th smallest increase)

27. Pennsylvania
> 3-year GDP growth: +1.6%
> Q2 2017 GDP growth: +2.5% (tied — 21st smallest increase)
> Fastest growing industry: Mining
> Fastest shrinking industry: Durable goods manufacturing
> 3-year employment growth: +2.5% (10th smallest increase)

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Lower manhattan Terror Suspect Rented Truck in New Jersey

terror nyc

October 31,2017

the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Lower Manhattan , NYC Details about the suspect’s background were just unfolding as his name emerged, but it appears that he is a somewhat recent immigrant to the United States. Saipov “is an Uzbek national and came to the U.S. in 2010,” NBC News reported. According to online records from his traffic history, he has worked as a commercial truck driver.

Details are as follows :

The New York Police Department has identified the suspect in Tuesday’s Manhattan attack as 29-year-old Sayfullo Habibullaevic Saipov, an Uzbek national who has been in the United States on a green card since 2010.

The attack on Tuesday just north of the World Trade Center site left eight people dead and at least a dozen injured.

According to local media in New Jersey, Saipov has has only two run-ins with police in the tri-state area – a couple of traffic stops in Mount Holly Springs Borough, Pennsylvania, and Palmyra, Pennsylvania, in 2015 and 2012, respectively. Both times, Saipov gave police a Paterson, New Jersey, address. His most recent official address, however, is in Tampa, Florida.

Saipov’s religious affiliation is unconfirmed, though Uzbekistan is around 96 percent Muslim. It is also not clear whether Saipov had any concerning affiliations, or a history of mental illness, common among mass killers. More details are likely to emerge as New York and Federal officials investigate deeper into the incident.

Police say that Saipov drove a rented truck over a curb and onto a bike path near the World Trade Center. After mowing over several pedestrians, Saipov crashed his truck into a school bus, injuring at least two adults and two children inside. He then jumped from the truck, screamed “Allah Akbar!” and ran toward a group of children, brandishing two items that appeared to be firearms.

The truck was rented at a Home depot in Passaic, New Jersey and the Passaic Police and Passaic County Sheriffs Department  are on the seen with Federal agents looking over his Van he left parked in the Home Depot Parking lot.

The NYPD says they recovered a BB gun and a paintball gun at the scene.

Saipov confronted an armed NYPD officer who shot him in the stomach but some reports say the thigh. He is alive and receiving treatment at some speculate Bellevue hospital. He is, reportedly, awake and alert enough to undergo an interrogation.

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Rooney Introduces E-ZPass Bills to Protect New Jersey Drivers


TRENTON, NJ. – Assemblyman Kevin J. Rooney (R) has introduced a package of pro-commuter bills protecting New Jersey’s E-ZPass customers who use New York’s bridges and tunnels from being overcharged.

The legislation is in response to a recent AAA study that found drivers who purchased E-ZPass tags from out of state agencies are being charged the cash rate instead of the discount rate at New York bridges and tunnels operated by the Metropolitan Transit Authority. Between 2012 and 2016, of the 92 million out-of-towners who didn’t receive the discount rate, 70 million were New Jersey drivers.

“One of the primary reasons E-ZPass was created was to offer drivers discounted rates,” said Rooney (R-Bergen). “We now find that certain drivers are given preferential treatment – the only reason for which is that their E-ZPass was issued by a New York agency. These bills are an effort to level the playing field for our commuters and ensure the integrity of the E-ZPass system.”

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Memo: New York Called For Face Recognition Cameras At Bridges, Tunnels


Proposal obtained by Vocativ asks for surveillance at nine NYC ‘crossing points’

By Kevin Collier
Jan 27, 2017 at 9:27 AM ET

The state of New York has privately asked surveillance companies to pitch a vast camera system that would scan and identify people who drive in and out of New York City, according to a December memo obtained by Vocativ.

The call for private companies to submit plans is part of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s major infrastructure package, which he introduced in October. Though much of the related proposals would be indisputably welcome to most New Yorkers — renovating airports and improving public transportation — a little-noticed detail included installing cameras to “test emerging facial recognition software and equipment.”

“This is a highly advanced system they’re asking for,” said Clare Garvie, an associate at Georgetown University’s Center for Privacy and Technology, and who specializes in police use of face recognition technologies. “This is going to be terabytes — if not petabytes — of data, and multiple cameras running 24 hours a day. In order to be face recognition compliant they probably have to be pretty high definition.”

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Reader says the reason NYC or Los Angeles are against Air B&B is because it kills hotel tax revenues


I thought the Facebook comments about renting a house for a golf tournament or Super Bowl type event were also illuminating.

The reason NYC or Los Angeles are against Air B&B is because it kills hotel tax revenues. They lose millions yet even they cant actually ban short term rentals. There is no way this law holds up but it will cost some homeowner and all of us taxpayers to work it through the system.

These knee jerk reactions to public comment has to be tempered. The mess with that parking near Whole Foods is a similar situation (from the past council). It is great to listen to the public and to try to find solutions but elected officials cannot just react. They are elected to be a deliberative body that analyzes both sides of an issue and finds solutions. These mistakes are costly in time and tax payer money.

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Officials probe bombings, stabbings in three U.S. cities in a 12-hour span: NJT TRAVEL ALERT

jersey shore bomb

NJT Travel Alerts Sep 19, 2016 04:33:47 AM
Pascack Valley, Main/Bergen Line and Port Jervis line customers WILL NOT have connecting service at Secaucus into New York due to Northeast Corridor and North Jersey Coast Line service suspension. Customers should stay on board their trains into Hoboken for PATH or Ferry service.


Police believe the two devices that were detonated in New Jersey and New York were made by the same person, a law enforcement source told Fox News on Sunday, as authorities move forward with investigations into the incidents as well as the ISIS-backed stabbing rampage in Minnesota — separate incidents that have cemented fears the United States is still a prime terror target.

As of Sunday afternoon, officials have not said publicaly there was a common link between the two bombing incidents, according to New York City Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill.

“I am concerned,” O’Neill said during a news conference. “We have a bomb that detonated and no one apprehended.”

The trio of dangerous episodes began Saturday when a pipe bomb exploded inside a plastic garbage can in New Jersey’s Seaside Park at 9:30 a.m. Investigators eventually found several devices “wired together” that did not detonate in the same garbage can.

The blast location could have proven deadly. Officials said runners participating in a charity 5K race were expected to pass by the area around the time of the explosion – but the start of the race was delayed after an unattended backpack was discovered. As a result, no one was injured.

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‘There will be more’: Chilling 911 call after the Chelsea explosion

Chelsea bombing

By Larry Celona, Tina Moore and Shawn Cohen

September 18, 2016 | 1:05pm

A 911 caller warned of further explosions right afterthe blast that rocked Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood and injured 29 people, The Post has learned.

“I’m looking at the explosion down the block. There will be more,” the unidentified male said, claiming to be standing at 23rd Street and Seventh Avenue in the aftermath of the terrifying incident, according to law-enforcement sources Sunday.

Investigators believe the blast was the result of a home-made, pressure-cooker bomb similar to an unexploded device found later on 27th Street, sources said.

In another new wrinkle, a hand-written letter, a portion of which is in Arabic, was found inside a plastic bag that held the second device, sources said.

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Dumpster bomb rocks Chelsea, injuring 29; second device found nearby

Chelsea bombing

By Larry Celona, Tom Wilson and Shawn Cohen

September 17, 2016 | 9:18pm | Updated

A “deafening’’ explosion rocked Chelsea Saturday night, injuring 29 people, blowing out scores of windows and forcing the evacuation of at least two buildings.

The blast went off in a 4-by-4-by-3-foot construction Dumpster outside the Townhouse Inn of Chelsea at 131 W. 23d St.

Mayor de Blasio called the explosion an “intentional act,’’ but not believed to be connected to terrorism.

Modal Trigger

But tensions only rose when, three hours after the blast, a second device was found four blocks away — a pressure cooker that an early investigation found was likely also a bomb.

“The bomb squad believes it’s real,” a police source with knowledge of the investigation told The Post of that second device,  found at 27th Street between Sixth and Seventh avenues. The cooker was safely removed from the scene by NYPD.