Six charged in multistate cocaine ring run from Upper West Side apartment

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

UPPER WEST SIDE — Six people were taken into custody in connection to a multistate cocaine ring run from an Upper West Side apartment, the drug enforcement administration announced Thursday.

Five men were arrested Mar. 6 and a sixth arrest was made Apr. 3, according to authorities. Multiple amounts of cocaine, marijuana and about $270,000 in cash were seized during the investigation.

Investigation revealed Gerardo Gonzalez, 43, was an alleged cocaine distributor who operated from an apartment at 472 Columbus Ave. on the Upper West Side.

Gonzalez allegedly conducted narcotics transactions on the street or inside vehicles with license plates from Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Washington D.C., authorities said.

Officials also witnessed Gonzalez meet with an alleged money launderer, Xiongbin Zhao, on at least two occasions to deliver large cash quantities. Agents stopped Zhao and recovered a duffel bag containing over $180,000 in cash.

On Mar. 6, authorities found about two kilograms of cocaine imprinted with a crown, additional bags of cocaine; over 30 grams of heroin mixed with methamphetamine and xylazine a horse tranquilizer and non-controlled substances. About $60,000 in cash, a money counter and drug packaging equipment was also recovered.

During a second authorized search at a Bronx apartment, authorities found a pound of cocaine, four pounds of marijuana and about $30,000 in cash.

Officials said an estimated 10 kilograms of cocaine was sold a week, charged at about $30,000 a kilogram.

Gonzalez was charged with second-degree conspiracy, first-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and three counts in the third degree, money laundering and two counts second-degree criminally using drug paraphernalia.

Zhao was charged with second-degree money laundering.

Alleged drug dealers were also taken into custody. Eric Espinal, 42, was charged with second-degree conspiracy, second-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, and third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, criminal possession of marijuana and criminally using drug paraphernalia Socrates Santana, 43, was charged with second-degree conspiracy and criminal possession of a controlled substance.
Jose Martinez, 40, and Vance Hall, 34, were charged with second-degree conspiracy.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.