Tag Archive | "Drugs"

Candlelight Vigil to Fend off Addiction and Stigma

The group walk and sing at sunset.

VIP members and others march in a candlelight vigil to support those fighting addiction. (HAN ZHANG / The Bronx Ink)

Wednesday night, about 75 people in Tremont joined a candlelight vigil organized by a local treatment center to honor people in recovery and those lost to drug addiction.

VIP Community Service, a non-profit organization providing treatment and housing in Tremont to people fighting addiction, invited its clients and their local supporters to join the walk. Most of the participants were men and women from its residential treatment project, a six-to-nine-month intensive recovery program. Some disabled members participated in a van.

About 65 per cent of VIP’s 1,574 clients are engaged in medication-supported recovery and 120 clients are enrolled in the residential recovery program.

Among all five boroughs of New York City, the Bronx has the highest rate of drug overdose deaths. The number grew  from 132 deaths in 2010 to 185 in 2013, according to data released in August by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. The same study shows that the Crotona–Tremont neighborhood was one of the top five areas in the city for deaths caused by drug overdose between 2010 and 2013.

Maria Garcia, who lost her sister to HIV six years ago, expressed gratitude that the addiction treatment program helped her sister get her life back in her last days. She brought her seven-year-old grandson to the event.

Maria Garcia brought her seven-year-old grandson to the walk to show family support.

Maria Garcia expressed gratitude that the treatment program helped her sister, who died six years ago. (HAN ZHANG / The Bronx Ink)

“Family shouldn’t feel embarrassed. Instead, we should help, be united, guide them and support them,” said Garcia.

The vigil started at 6:30 p.m.  and lasted about one and a half hours. As participants walked along Arthur Avenue and around Crotona Park, others joined in along the way. The crowd sang “Lean on Me” and other songs.

“It’s such a beautiful scene,” said a neighbor, watching the group walk by the park at sunset.

The event created an opportunity for the clients to socialize and interact with the local community, according to VIP’s assistant vice president Carmen Rivera, the organizer of the vigil.

“We want to take away the stigma on former drug addicts and show that they can pull it together and be a positive influence in the neighborhood,” said Rivera.

In one contribution to the neighborhood, in August, VIP clients unveiled a mural, “Bridging Transformation,” created by 20 VIP clients who worked with local artists for six weeks.  Images of a shadowed man walking on a path that leads to an explosive cluster of bright colors enliven the side of  a five-story building on 176th Street in Tremont.

Tanesha Green, a mother of four who marched on Wednesday night, said that the treatment program helped her focus on recovery.

“The program is within you, if you are ready to do it,” Green said after the vigil.




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Bronx Man Charged with Murder of Wife with Scissors

On Monday afternoon, the light over the front door of the sealed house was left on.

On Monday afternoon, the light over the front door of the sealed house was left on.                 (HAN ZHANG / The Bronx Ink)

On Monday, a 56-year-old man was charged with second degree murder, manslaughter and criminal possession of a weapon after fatally stabbing his wife with a pair of scissors, according to police.

Around noon on Sunday, the wife, Cynthia Migliozzi, 57, was found unconscious and unresponsive in her Bronx home at 1581 Astor Avenue. With a puncture wound in her left armpit and shoulder, she was pronounced dead upon arrival at Jacobi Hospital, a few blocks away from her house.

The couple has lived in the traditionally Italian neighborhood of Pelham Gardens for more than 25 years, first with the husband’s parents, and then with the couple’s two sons, both of whom are in their early twenties. The family also kept a pug.

The neighborhood belongs to precinct 49, where the crime rate is the lowest among neighboring precincts. Last year, 10.06 crimes happened per 1000 residents in this area, lower than all but three precincts in Manhattan.

On Monday afternoon, the light over the front door of the sealed two-story, red brick house was left on and a silver Chrysler was parked in the weed-ridden yard.

To their neighbors, the family seemed friendly but not particularly social.

“They really kept it to themselves,” said Josephine Venditti, 73, who has lived in the house next door to the Migliozzis’ since 1977.

“Their jobs were a big question mark. I don’t think they’ve ever worked,” said another close neighbor who preferred to remain anonymous.“Martin was actually very well-spoken when he talks. I think he told me that he used to study pharmacy before drugs messed him up.”

Police said that Martin Migliozzi had nine prior arrests, mostly for drug possession. The motive is still under investigation.

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34 suspects face drug charges – NY1

34 suspects are facing charges of conspiring to sell crack cocaine near two Bronxwood housing projects. 19 of the suspects have already been arrested, reports NY1. Eight more are being held on other charges, with seven remaining on the loose. According to officials at the US District Attorney’s office undercover cops have made over 150 purchases near the Allerton Ave Co-ops and the Parkside Houses since 2006. The officers have obtained over 500 grams of cocaine during the operation.

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Feds bust Bronx prescription drug ring, DNAInfo

A Bronx drug ring fell in the hands of federal agents, who accused them of conspiring with a Washington Heights doctor to sell thousands of Oxycodone pills, according to DNAInfo.

The bust comes in the wake of a crackdown on the illegal sale of prescription drugs in Washington Heights.

Felix Rodriguez, 50, allegedly supplied drug, which the dealers referred to as “jelly beans,” from the spring 2009 through May 2011. The Bronx gang also allegedly sold hard drugs along with the pills.

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Three Bronx men face drug charges in Pennsylvania, BCTV

Three Bronx men are facing drug charges in a Pennsylvania town following an arrest that netted thousands of packs of heroin, according to the community website Berks County TV in Reading, Pa.

The suspects who are in their early 20s allegedly distributed large volumes of heroin in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York.

Police said large amounts of heroin with a street value of $73,000 were seized from a car with a New Jersey registration.

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Bronx lawyers tired of listening to ‘sex tapes’, New York Post

Bronx lawyers for a group of accused drug-running gangbangers are complaining about having to sift through hundreds of hours of recorded jail conversations in which their clients brag about their sex lives, The New York Post reports.

One defense attorney asked out of the case but the judge rejected his request.

The attorneys were obliged to listen to 5,575 phone calls to see if there was anything relevant to their clients’ defense after prosecutors handed them over.

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Two Bronx Men Arrested For Pushing Heroin Near School, Daily News

Two Bronx men were arrested for selling heroin out of a drinks distributionship near two Long Island schools, New York Daily News reports.

Jason Cruz, 21, and Jeffrey Marmolejos, 22, were arrested on Tuesday after a month long undercover operation by Nassau and Suffolk County police.

They discovered the gang selling drugs from Wantagh Beverage, a distributionship near Wantagh Middle School and Wantagh High School in Long Island.

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Major Heroin Bust in Bronx Called a Sign of a Growing Problem

Authorities displayed heroin they said was seized during a raid on an apartment in the Bronx. Photo: Courtesy of NYPD

Authorities displayed heroin they said was seized during a raid on an apartment in the Bronx. Photo: Courtesy of NYPD

On Thursday, four men were arrested and approximately $1 million worth of heroin was seized after an investigation by the New York Police Department’s Bronx Narcotics Major Case Squad and the Special Narcotics Prosecutor’s Office culminated with a raid on an apartment in Parkchester. People with knowledge of the case said the bust was indicative of an increasing number of wholesale heroin operations in the Bronx.

Authorities said Apartment 1L in the building at 2112 Starling Ave. was used as a heroin mill, where the drug was packaged and processed before being distributed to a variety of dealers. Heroin packaged at the apartment was placed in glassine envelopes, which according to a press release issued by the Drug Enforcement Administration, were stamped with the brand names “Almighty,” “Heat Wave,” “Maserati” and “Body Bag.”

The exterior of 2112 Starling Avenue, where police said they seized approximately $1 million worth of heroin. Photo: Courtesy of NYPD

The exterior of 2112 Starling Avenue, where police said they seized approximately $1 million worth of heroin. Photo: Courtesy of NYPD

Arrested in conjunction with the raid were four men, including 28-year-old Luis Lara, who was described by the DEA as, “a manager of the drug trafficking organization.” Lara was observed, according to the press release, “traveling to both JFK Airport and Newark Liberty International Airport on Sunday and then returning to The Bronx.” Law enforcement officials also said they arrested 28-year-old Jose Polo, who was stopped leaving the apartment with a backpack containing 3,000 glassines of heroin, and two other men who worked at the Parkchester mill. In total, the DEA said the search of the apartment uncovered seven kilos of heroin prepackaged in 50,000 envelopes along with “cardboard boxes of empty glassines, scales and coffee grinders used for cutting the heroin” and “other paraphernalia.”

A source with knowledge of this investigation described heroin mills as a growing problem in the Bronx. Officials said this was a large drug operation, but that there have been at least four major raids on heroin mills in the Bronx since last July, including seizures more than twice the size of this latest bust. New York City special narcotics prosecutor Bridget G. Brennan released a statement  that said the bust was “one of many significant heroin seizures in the city over the past nine months.” Brennan’s statement cited  a case last July when police officers found a quarter of a million envelopes of the drug, five times as many as were seized in Thursday’s raid.

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