HELL’S KITCHEN, Manhattan (PIX11) — Days after arrest warrants were issued in connection with a series of fatal New York City club druggings, authorities’ search for the suspects continues.
The mother of one of the victims, political consultant John Umberger, previously told PIX11 News that she had been notified by the NYPD that six gang members had been indicted, including some for felony murder. However, as of early Thursday, there was no indication that any arrests had been made. The office of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg has declined comment, noting that “Indictments are under seal until arraignment in court.”
Umberger was found dead in June 2022, several days after he was seen leaving The Q NYC club in Hell’s Kitchen sandwiched between two men. More than $23,000 had been removed from his bank accounts, which his mother, Linda Clary, said were accessed using facial recognition technology.
In a similar case, social worker Julio Ramirez was found dead in the back of a cab in April 2022, after he was last seen getting into the taxi with three men outside Ritz Bar. Nearly $20,000 was taken from his bank accounts in the hours and days after his death.
Toxicology reports released earlier this month showed fentanyl, p-fluorofentanyl, ethanol, and lidocaine in the systems of both men. And last week, authorities revealed there was another victim of drug-facilitated theft, fashion designer to the stars Katie Gallagher, 35.
“For the past eight months, we have been proactively working with the NYPD, NYC Office of Medical Examiner, and Manhattan District Attorney to get answers about Katie’s sudden death,” a statement from her family read in part. “When we think about the callous disregard for her life and all that she would have done or could have done had this not happened, our hearts break all over again.”
Police said in late 2022 that at least six people had died in the spate of drug-facilitated thefts, while another 24 survived the druggings.
A grand jury had recently met to consider evidence against suspects linked to Kenwood Allen, who was indicted in December on felony murder charges in connection with the deaths of two other young men who overdosed after leaving downtown Manhattan clubs.
Submit tips to police by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), visiting crimestoppers.nypdonline.org, downloading the NYPD Crime Stoppers mobile app, or texting 274637 (CRIMES) then entering TIP577. Spanish-speaking callers are asked to dial 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).