For years Dwayne Mitchell ran the drug trade in the Jacob Riis Houses on the Lower East Side, according to the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office. From East 8th Street to East 13th Street, on and around Avenue D, Mitchell’s “large-scale drug operation” sold hundred of thousands of dollars worth of crack cocaine a year, prosecutors charge.
“Nothing happens on that strip without Dwayne Mitchell’s knowledge or approval,” assistant D.A. Dan Rather told the New York Times.
Police arrested Mitchell on Tuesday. The D.A.’s office indicted him and 10 others tied to his organization, including his alleged supplier.
The arrests came after a 21-month investigation. The NYPD’s Manhattan South Narcotics Bureau monitored phone calls and went undercover. Like many drug ring leaders, Mitchell kept layers of employees between him and the customers.
But while tying Mitchell to the street deals may have posed a challenge, locating the 35-year-old was not.
As the New York Times reported, Mitchell was an active presence in his community, the kind of kingpin who spread the wealth and took care of his people.
“He won the affection of many residents by paying for block parties and throwing barbecues,” wrote reporter James C. McKinley Jr. “He even took neighborhood children to amusement parks like Six Flags.”
He often met with his wholesale supplier, 29-year-old Sabed Rahman, at a midtown Starbucks, the indictment states. There, prosecutors say, they exchanged drugs and cash.
When police arrested Mitchell, officers found $14,000 in his house, according to the Times.
Mitchell’s charges include 30 counts of drug sale and one count of money laundering. Rahman and five others each face several counts of drug sale. Four of the men indicted are accused of only a single count of conspiracy. They are scheduled for arraignment on October 22.