In a series of arraignments that lasted a full day in Manhattan Supreme Court, prosecutors charged 48 people in a 78-count indictment surrounding the takedown of a “high-structured” drug ring operating in New York City. Prosecutors with the Manhattan District Attorney’s office presented evidence showing that “countless” 16- and 17-year-olds were used as drug runners in order to shield ringleaders from view. The operation, nicknamed “Main Event” by the NYPD and DA’s office as investigators from both agencies observed it for more than a year, allegedly sold heroin and crack cocaine on one West Harlem block. That block—West 135th Street between Broadway and Riverside Drive—was recently classified as the most violent in the borough of Manhattan, according to DA Cy Vance Jr.
Wiretaps showed that the operation could move as much as $10,000 worth of drugs in just a few hours with a team of dozens that included dealers, cooks, drivers, and security guards that sold “prolifically” 24 hours a day, according to Assistant District Attorney Kaitrin Roberts. More than $100,000 in cash was seized when authorities arrived at the ring’s alleged base of operations on Wednesday morning. A day later, the judge presiding over the case set a wide array of bail fees for the nearly 50 defendants charged, ranging from zero to $1 million.