No neighborhood is too “sedate” for drug traffickers, New York City prosecutors said Thursday. And no apartment, even one belonging to a dead woman, is off-limits.
Authorities say Gerardo Gonzalez, who prosecutors dubbed the “Cocaine King of the Upper West Side”, used his late mother’s apartment to run a massive multistate drug ring netting more than $1.2 million a month, the New York Daily News reported.
Gonzalez, 43, was one of six people arrested this month and in March after an eight-month investigation, prosecutors said, PIX 11 reported.
After his mother died last August, Gonzalez “seized” the opportunity to turn her Upper West Side home into the hub of a drug operation that trafficked drugs to locations including Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Washington D.C., authorities said, according to the Daily News.
“As we have seen before, a familiar, quiet residential neighborhood is attractive real estate to a drug dealer who wants to lay low, avoid detection by law enforcement and escape the notice of stick up crews who might view him as an easy mark for robbery,” said Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget G. Brennan.
Prosecutors allege he sold up to 10 kilograms of cocaine a week, doing deals on the street and in cars near the apartment, Patch reported.
Gonzalez seemed to suspect authorities were on to him at some point, prosecutors said. In a January phone call with a co-defendant, he said he believed he saw surveillance by the “FBI or DEA,” according to authorities.
A search of the home on March 6 found $60,000 in cash, two kilograms of cocaine, animal tranquilizer and other substances, Patch said.
Gonzalez faces charges that include conspiracy and criminal possession of a controlled substance, the New York Post reported.
He pleaded not guilty Thursday at his arraignment in Manhattan, The New York Post reported.