NEW CITY, N.Y. (PIX11) — It's where families go to shop, dine and watch movies, but it also turned into a playground for drug dealers.
In the parking lots of the Palisades and Nanuet Malls and at a number of motels along the Route 59 corridor, heroin and oxycodone were openly sold, the Rockland County District Attorney said Wednesday.The dealers, according to investigators, were street- and mid-level, several of them were gang members and they mostly came from the Bronx and Manhattan to sell.
"Our residents and visitors shop and dine in these locations with the expectation they'll be shielded from harm and not become part of it," said Rockland County District Attorney, Thomas Zugibe.
For 11 months, the Rockland County District Attorney's office worked with the US Attorneys office investigators to uncover and deliver a major hit to a massive drug trafficking ring, arresting 29 people. The street value of their operation, one million dollars or more.
"This was, as has been mentioned, a labor intensive investigation involving surveillance undercover agents and multiple court approved wire taps," said Preet Bharara, U.S. Attorney for Southern District of NY.
Some of the dealers even called themselves the "TMC Crew," which stands for Too Much Cash. They had no shame in what they were doing, even taking to social media and bragging about dealing drugs.
"It almost seemed like these individuals were able to talk freely on the phone and thought it was ok to sell these types of prescription drugs," added Chris Goldrick, Director of Rockland Co Drug Task Force.
Investigators said fake prescriptions were forged on home computers. The operation did not involve any doctors and many pharmacies were duped by the intricate network.
Since last year this group distributed more than 50,000 Oxycodone tablets.
Today, prosecutors made it a point to emphasize the growing problem of prescription drug abuse. The death tolls from the abuse quadrupling from 1999-2013.
"We have more and more in this country poison by prescription. The abuse of prescription painkillers and oxycodone in particular has become a crisis of epidemic proportions," added Bharara.