Tag Archives: marijuana

Elmhurst site near Queens Center may soon distribute medical marijuana


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Angy Altamirano

A state-regulated medical marijuana dispensary center may soon open shop across the street from the Queens Center mall in Elmhurst.

Empire State Health Solutions, one of five organizations that the state Health Department selected to produce and/or distribute medicinal marijuana, will open a location at 89-55 Queens Blvd., a building that currently houses a Casual Male XL store and an AT&T Wireless customer care center, according to NY1. It will be one of four marijuana dispensary centers to open in New York City.

As the Health Department announced on Friday, the organizations’ selection clears a major hurdle in the state’s implementation of provisions in the Compassionate Care Act enacted in 2014, which authorized the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes in New York State. The medical marijuana program is on target for implementation by January 2016, about 18 months after Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the bill into law.

The production and distribution of medical marijuana in New York State will be heavily regulated and restricted to patients deemed qualified to receive it based on debilitating conditions. The state-sanctioned organizations will be permitted to make and sell via prescription up to five different marijuana products: oil for vaporization, oral capsules, oral sprays, injectable tubes and sublingual (under the tongue) dissolvable tablets.

Marijuana will not be provided in either loose, edible or cigarette forms.

The exact location of the dispensary center was reported by various media outlets, but the Health Department did not confirm such information, according to state Senator Toby Ann Stavisky. She claimed in a phone interview that she only learned of the center’s opening — which is located within her district — through reading published reports largely based on information leaked to the press by unnamed sources.

“The notification process is lacking in transparency,” Stavisky said. “That’s not a good sign.”

Despite the communication gap, the senator believes the use of medicinal marijuana will bring a great deal of relief to patients in need — and that the law itself has enough safeguards to block recreational use.

“People have to understand that this is not going to be Colorado,” Stavisky said, referring to one of two states that legalized recreational marijuana use. “It’s for use in people with very serious or debilitating ailments…This is not something for someone looking for a quick high.”

To that end, the senator pointed out that the regulations require that only doctors may prescribe medicinal marijuana to a patient; that doctors must undergo an extensive training program to learn the conditions that would qualify a patient to receive medical marijuana; and that a qualified patient must be deemed disabled under the Civil Rights Law.

State Senator Michael Gianaris — who, like Stavisky, supported the Compassionate Care Act —welcomed the Health Department’s announcement on medical marijuana.

“It is welcome news for our economy when new jobs are created in our neighborhoods,” Gianaris said in a statement. “I look forward to working with this new local business to ensure it is a good corporate neighbor to existing residents.”

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Cambria Heights women arrested for operating pot farm in home


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo via Flickr Creative Commons/MendezEnrique

Two women are accused of turning their Cambria Heights home into a pot farm and stealing more than $64,000 worth of electricity from Con Edison to help run their operation, prosecutors said.

Larraysha Conklin, 28, and Julene Mercano, 50, are charged with second-degree grand larceny, first-degree criminal possession of marijuana and theft of service, according to the district attorney’s office.

“The defendants are accused of having transformed the second floor of their residence into a virtual pot farm, which required high wattage lights and constant air-conditioning in order for the plants to grow. It is alleged that in an effort to cut their overhead costs, the defendant stole tens of thousands of dollars in unmetered electricity from Con Edison,” District Attorney Richard Brown said in a statement Thursday.

Police from the 105th Precinct uncovered the marijuana after executing a search warrant on the women’s 219th Street home Wednesday morning.

Before finding the pot, authorities recovered multiple designer handbags, $397 in cash, credit cards bearing Conklin’s name from her bedroom, multiple laptops and cellular phones, and from the living room an Apple watch and an Apple laptop.

On the second floor, police allegedly found 41 marijuana plants in two separate rooms and growing equipment that included multiple 1,000-watt lights, power fans, air-conditioning units, dehumidifiers and carbon dioxide generators.

Police additionally allegedly recovered on the second floor a small tub containing marijuana from a freezer and another small container of marijuana from a closet, as well as chemicals used for plant growth.

Finally, according to prosecutors, it was uncovered that multiple Con Edison lines were being used to manipulate the service boxes to the home. The estimated bill for unmetered service at the residence between May 31, 2013, through July 1, 2015, was approximately $64,792, but Mercado’s electric bills were only a fraction of the amount of electricity being used at the location, prosecutors said.

If convicted, each woman faces up to 15 years in prison.

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Queens-based counterfeiting ring busted, loaded weapon and marijuana discovered


| agiudice@ridgewoodtimes.com

Photos courtesy NYPD

Authorities charged 17 people connected to a major credit and debit card fraud ring based in Queens following a yearlong investigation, prosecutors announced on Thursday.

According to Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown, the suspects used the stolen credit and debit card account information to make purchases at department stores and other establishments in New York City, Long Island and Rockland County between December 2014 and May 2015. Police allege that several of the suspects were active gang members.

During its investigation and ensuring court-authorized searches, police reportedly recovered card readers, embossers and other equipment used for credit and debit card forgery along with more than $11,000 in cash, three vehicles, a loaded .40-caliber Glock firearm, 41 marijuana plants, two 5-gallon containers full of marijuana and high-intensity lights known to be used for growing pot indoors.

The joint operation was conducted by the NYPD Financial Crimes Task Force, Intelligence Bureau, 105th Precinct, Organized Crime Control Bureau-Asset Forfeiture, Detective Bureau-Warrant Squad and Queens District Attorney’s Office.

Photo courtesy NYPD

The counterfeiting crew has been variously charged in six indictments with the crimes of second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument, fourth-degree grand larceny, petit larceny, attempted petit larceny and third-degree unlawful possession of personal identification information, Brown said. The defendants each face up to seven years in prison if convicted.

“The indictments are the result of a yearlong investigation by my Economic Crimes Bureau and the New York City Police Department’s Financial Crimes Task Force and included seven months of court-authorized wiretaps, physical and video surveillance and thousands of intercepted telephone calls,” Brown said. “It is alleged that this fraud ring was basically made up of a loose affiliation of friends — all between 20 and 28 in age — who helped each other out with manufacturing and using forged cards to make purchases at Bloomingdales, Saks Fifth Avenue, Macy’s, Target and even Pathmark and Waldbaums supermarkets. Their alleged crimes victimized not just the businesses — costing them thousands of dollars in losses — but the consumers whose personal identification information was used to carry out the scheme.”

Fourteen of the 17 defendants were arraigned on Wednesday in Queens County Supreme Court, while 15 remain in police custody. Two of the individuals are currently being sought.

The defendants are Alexis Arrellano, 23, of Baldwin, Long Island; Deemy Balbuena, 20, of Freeport, Long Island; Jasmine Blair, 27, of Jamaica, Queens, who is presently being sought; Dashawn Coggins (aka Dayday), 27, of Jamaica, Queens, who is presently being sought; Rashem Davis (aka Sheimy), 25, of Jamaica, Queens; Brian Gwenden, 23, of Jamaica, Queens; Peter John (aka Peter Jean Gilles John), 21, of St. Albans, Queens; Omar Majeed, 27, of Jamaica, Queens; Emendjer Mathurni (aka Manny), 24, of Jamaica, Queens; Antoine J. Miller (aka Fatboy), 21, of Flushing, Queens; Amir Mohamed (aka Chop), 24, of Jamaica, Queens; Isijola Olesegun (aka Shea Black), 24, of Jamaica, Queens; Nicholas Pollard, 22, of St. Albans, Queens; Andrew Pottinger (aka Drip), 24, of Queens Village, Queens; Avion Smith (aka Abby), 26, of Hempstead, Long Island; Fendi Vance, 24, of Flushing, Queens; and Vegelia Waters (aka Vegillia O’Conner), 28, of Jamaica, Queens.

An 18th individual, Geovaunni Faucher, 21, of Elmont, Long Island, was arrested and charged with 32 counts of possession of a forged instrument, 32 counts of unlawful possession of personal ID and criminal possession of marijuana in the fifth degree.

According to the indictments, members of the fraud ring purchased the stolen credit and debit card account information from online black market websites. They proceeded to encode the stolen information onto blank cards and physically press the raised numbers and names on the cards. Then they allegedly hired “shoppers” to purchase items from several retailers using the fraudulent cards and proceeded to sell off the stolen goods.

Some of the establishments targeted by the ring include Saks Fifth Avenue, Macy’s stores in Flushing, Douglaston and the Queens Center mall, W&H Liquors in Hollis, Target stores in Nanuet and Long Island, a Pathmark supermarket in New Hyde Park, and Waldbaums supermarket in College Point.

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Driver arrested for drug stash following LIC traffic stop


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

A simple traffic violation led to serious charges for a driver who was pulled over in Long Island City and caught with an assortment of drugs in his car, police said.

Two plainclothes officers from the 108th Precinct in an unmarked vehicle spotted a Jeep Grand Cherokee blow a stop sign on 38th Street before heading east on 43rd Avenue at about 10:30 p.m. on Wednesday, authorities said.

The cops then stopped the driver and as they approached the car smelled a strong odor of marijuana allegedly coming from the vehicle. When they looked inside the car, the officers saw marijuana residue on the floor.

They also discovered that the driver, identified as 29-year-old Omar Carbajal of Woodside, was driving with a suspended license.

According to authorities, Carbajal was arrested and taken to the 108th Precinct stationhouse in Long Island City for processing while police searched his car.

During the search, they uncovered 2 ounces of PCP in the trunk and later discovered a trap in the center console that contained over 5 ounces of cocaine, over 8 ounces of marijuana and 60 amphetamine pills.

Carbajal was charged with multiple counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance, including with the intent to sell, criminal possession of marijuana, aggravated unlicensed operator, failure to stop at a stop sign and excessive tint, police said.

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State suspends license of Woodhaven day care center following drug raid of basement apartment


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo by Anthony Giudice

A state agency suspended a Woodhaven day care center’s operating license less than a week after police raided the apartment below the facility during a narcotics investigation.

The Office of Children and Family Services withheld the license for My Precious Moments group family day care at 85-09 88th Ave. following its own probe into matters unrelated to last Thursday’s raid, according to an agency spokesperson.

Meanwhile, 24-year-old Michael Gomez — who lives in a basement apartment below the day care center, which his mother owns — remains locked up on charges after police found quantities of MDMA (Molly) and marijuana in his residence.

Ridgewood’s Selestino Rodriguez of Bleecker Street — a friend of Gomez arrested with him at the scene last Thursday — was released without bail following arraignment.

The NYPD Queens Narcotics Squad, with cooperation from the 102nd Precinct’s Field Investigation Office, executed a search warrant at the location following an investigation in which Gomez allegedly sold quantities of Molly and/or marijuana to an undercover officer on Feb. 3 and Feb. 17.

Both transactions reportedly occurred at Gomez’s residence while children were at the day care center.

During Thursday’s raid, police recovered 7 ounces of Molly, 4 ounces of marijuana and more than $2,400 in cash.

Gomez and Rodriguez were charged with felony counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance and a misdemeanor count of criminal sale of marijuana. Gomez was additionally charged with child endangerment, criminal sale of marijuana and criminal sale of a controlled substance. Both suspects are due back in court on March 9.

According to sources, My Precious Moments opened in May 2009 and cares for 16 children—12 of whom are between 6 weeks and 12 years old. Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown noted that the day care center is located less than 1,500 feet from two parochial schools: St. Elizabeth Catholic Academy at 94-01 85th St. and St. Thomas the Apostle Academy at 87-49 87th St.

No one from My Precious Moments responded to phone calls that the Times Newsweekly made Tuesday morning.

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Woodhaven man arraigned after allegedly dealing narcotics below day care, within drug-free school zones


| rpozarycki@queenscourier.com

Photo by Anthony Giudice

A Woodhaven man remained behind bars in lieu of $20,000 bail Friday afternoon for allegedly dealing drugs from his apartment below a day care center his mother owns and operates, prosecutors said.

Michael Gomez, 24, was arrested Thursday morning on drug possession charges after police raided his apartment located under the My Precious Moments day care facility at 85-09 88th Ave. A friend with him at the scene, Selestino Rodriguez of Ridgewood, was also taken into custody.

My Precious Moments opened in May 2009 and cares for 16 children — 12 of whom are between 6 weeks and 12 years old. Queens District Attorney Richard Brown noted that the day care center is located less than 1,500 feet from two parochial schools that serve pre-kindergarten through eighth grade: St. Elizabeth Catholic Academy at 94-01 85th St. and St. Thomas the Apostle Academy at 87-49 87th St. Both are in drug-free school zones.

The NYPD Queens Narcotics Squad executed a search warrant at the 88th Avenue location following an investigation in which Gomez allegedly sold quantities of MDMA (Molly) and/or marijuana to an undercover officer on Feb. 3 and Feb. 17. Both transactions reportedly occurred at Gomez’s residence while children were inside the day care center.

During Thursday’s raid, police recovered 7 ounces of Molly, 4 ounces of marijuana and more than $2,400 in cash.

Gomez and Rodriguez were charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, criminally using drug paraphernalia, criminal possession of marijuana  and endangering the welfare of a child. Gomez was additionally charged with criminal sale of marijuana and criminal sale of a controlled substance.

Both suspects were arraigned Thursday night in Queens Criminal Court before Judge Toko Serita. Gomez was ordered held on $20,000 bail, while Rodriguez was released on his own recognizance. They are scheduled to return to court on Mar. 9.

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City’s pot policy change divides Queens residents, pleases pols


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo via NYC Mayor Office's Flickr

BY ASHA MAHADEVAN

Borough residents are on both sides of the debate over the city’s recent change in policy over marijuana possession arrests, while several local politicians see it as a progressive move.

“Historically, these types of arrests have disproportionately targeted poorer, young men of color,” Councilman Donovan Richards Jr., said. “Rethinking the administration’s approach to marijuana possession is a key to ending the misguided reliance on ‘stop and frisk’ and rebuilding the relationships between law enforcement and the communities they police.”

According to the new policy, if police find someone in possession of 25 grams or less of marijuana, officers will issue a summons instead of arresting the individual. The new policy, which comes into effect on Nov. 19, is not a blanket rule. The change is valid only if the person has identification and if no arrest warrant has been issued for him or her. Individuals carrying marijuana will still be subject to arrest if the type of possession indicates intent to sell, if the individual has an outstanding warrant, or if the individual is in certain locations such as a school.

Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras is also in favor of the change, calling it a move in the right direction.

“This policy change is one of many steps towards rebuilding those communities of color, like my own, that have been disproportionately jailed and suffered in the long term; it reflects the progressive, forward-thinking direction in which our city and this Council are moving,” she said.

Councilman Rory Lancman, who chairs the Committee on Courts and Legal Services, focused on the effect of the policy change on the overburdened legal system, saying that this change will allow prosecutors, judges and defense attorneys to concentrate on violent crimes. He added that he looks forward to “further reducing the over-policing in communities of color, and addressing the collateral consequences of even mere violations for undocumented immigrants caught in the criminal justice system.”

Queens residents were not as supportive, and even saw the change as potentially dangerous.

“It is not a good idea. There should be more rules covering this. What if someone is on a high and drives a car? This will add more dangerous people on the road,” Bayside resident Robert Posner said.

But others agreed with the looser punishment.

“It’s not right but I am OK with it,” Alda Gomez said. “So long as they don’t sell it or it is not a big amount or they are next to a school, if it is only for themselves, it’s okay.”

Jose Valencia believed it was a good start.

“Eventually law has to change towards legalization,” he said.

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Police find loaded guns, marijuana after pulling over BMW in St. Albans


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

Cops discovered that a BMW’s occupants were violating more than traffic laws when they pulled over the vehicle in St. Albans last week.

Officers stopped the car, a 2001 BMW X5, around 12:40 a.m. on Oct. 20 after noticing it was driving rather fast at Linden and Farmers boulevards, police said. They also saw that it was missing its front license plate and had a defective taillight.

As the car’s occupants rolled down the windows, the cops said they could smell marijuana coming from the BMW before they even arrived at it. They also said once they did approach the vehicle they could see a marijuana cigarette in the front ashtray and another one on the floor mat.

A .45-cal Taurus handgun and .32-cal Beretta pistol, which was previously reported stolen out of state, were also found in the car, police said.

The vehicle’s four occupants, Gregory Bryant, 35, of Hackensack, N.J.; Wayne Savage, 26, of Hartford, Conn.; Robert Myrie, 44, of Kingston, Jamaica; and Barrington King, 31, of North Lauderdale, Fla., were arrested and each charged with possession of loaded firearms, possession of stolen property and possession of marijuana, authorities said. Bryant was also charged with insufficient taillights, improper license plates and driving without a license.

According to police, Bryan was previously arrested in upstate New York for narcotics possession and is being held on a warrant from Hudson County, N.J. King was previously arrested in Florida and Arizona for theft of a firearm, marijuana possession and sale, and conspiracy.

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Queens Village man arrested for pot, gun stash after leaving son home alone: cops


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYPD

BY ASHA MAHADEVAN

A 30-year-old Queens Village man was arrested on drug and gun possession charges after he left his 8-year-old son sleeping alone at their home, police said.

Nuquan Stewart was busted on Oct. 14, at 10:45 p.m. after police officers saw that the Volkswagen he was driving had a broken brake light, according to authorities. When they approached Stewart about it, they allegedly noticed a strong odor of marijuana.

The cops asked Stewart to step out of the vehicle. They then spotted six plastic bags of the drug sticking out of the open front pocket of his hooded sweatshirt and a gravity knife jutting from a upholder in the vehicle’s center console, police said. When the cops handcuffed him, Stewart told them about his son, who he had left alone at home while he ran his errands.

At Stewart’s request, the cops went to his 222nd Street apartment to check on the young boy. When they reached it, they allegedly smelled pot. They entered the residence with the keys Stewart had given them and found the boy safely asleep in his bedroom. They also found numerous bags of marijuana and large stacks of money.

The cops handed the child over to the city’s Administration for Children’s Services who then transferred his care to another family member.

The next day, the police executed a search warrant at the apartment and seized several items including 30 pounds of marijuana, approximately $17,500 in cash, a .40-cal Smith & Wesson semiautomatic firearm loaded with 11 rounds, and a fully-automatic Ruger AR-15 assault rifle, along with two high-capacity magazines loaded with 20 live rounds, according to authorities.

Stewart is currently being held in Rikers Island as he awaits a court date to face charges of criminal possession of marijuana, criminal possession of a machine gun, criminal possession of a loaded firearm, and failure to exercise control of a minor, police said. He has previously been arrested for the sale and possession of marijuana and crack cocaine, burglary, criminal mischief and resisting arrest.

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Guns, ammo, 33 pounds of pot found in woman’s luggage at JFK: officials


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of @TSAmedia_LisaF

A Canadian woman was busted at John F. Kennedy International Airport Sunday morning after TSA officers discovered guns, ammunition and 58 bricks of marijuana hidden among cat litter, drink mixes and household items inside her baggage, officials said.

The illegal loot was found in the passenger’s two pieces of checked luggage. The screeners noticed the suitcases were full of cans and boxes for baby wipes, coffee, floor dusting sheets, lemonade mix, iced tea mix, cat litter and laundry tablets, according to the TSA.

Copy of 2

Inside the product containers, they uncovered two disassembled .40 caliber handguns, 350 rounds of ammunition, four magazines for the weapons and 58 bricks of pot totaling 33 pounds.

Port Authority police were called, and the traveler, Nyesha McPherson, 24, of Scarborough, Ontario, who was ticketed to fly to the Barbados, was arrested at about 9 a.m., officials said.

McPherson has been charged with criminal possession of marijuana, criminal possession of weapon, criminal possession of a firearm, possession of high capacity magazines and possession of ammunition, according to a PA spokesman.

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Fresh Meadows noise complaint leads to heroin bust


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos Courtesy of NYPD

A noise complaint at a Fresh Meadows home led police officers to make a major heroin bust Friday night.

Uniformed officers of the 107th Precinct responded to a 3-1-1 noise complaint at 11:05 p.m. on the third floor at 67-11 161st St., according to the NYPD. Upon arriving, the officer heard a loud radio from one apartment and after they knocked the suspect, Frank Giardina, answered the door holding a marijuana pipe.

In order to write Giardina a summons, the officers asked him for his identification after which Giardina invited the police inside his apartment in order to get his ID, according to police. Once inside the apartment the officers saw about five pounds of alleged heroin on the kitchen table. Giardina was then placed under arrest.

A search warrant was granted and after further search, 1,948 glassines of heroin were found together with packing materials and equipment.

Giardina faces charges including criminal possession of a controlled substance of an amount greater than eight ounces, criminal possession of a controlled substance of methamphetamine, intent to sell a criminal possession of a controlled substance and criminal possession of marijuana.

 

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Cuomo’s pot program leaves some with questions


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of DEA/Department of Justice

Governor Andrew Cuomo’s State of the State still has some a little buzzed.

Cuomo mentioned he would launch a state medical marijuana program to help patients, and since then various organizations and supporters of cannabis have applauded the decision, but are calling for more information.

“Our opinion is that any medical marijuana law is great,” said Troy Smit, a member of the board of directors of Empire State National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, a marijuana advocacy group. “There are patients out there that need it.”

The governor’s program is a pilot to research medical marijuana, and will be limited to only 20 hospitals and patients with serious illnesses, such as cancer.

Cuomo is able to enact the policy through an old law, which established the Antonio G. Olivieri controlled substances therapeutic research program.

However, not much information has been released about the program, leading people to question which patients will qualify to get access to the cannabis, which hospitals will participate, and even how the state plans to collect and dispense marijuana.

“We are afraid his whole plan is unworkable and leaves everybody in the dust. What is the point of a plan that doesn’t work,” Smit asked.

A recent DrugPolicy.org/Siena College Research Institute poll showed that 79 percent of people in New York City support medical marijuana for people with serious conditions, and there is hope that the program could be expanded after its test run.

The program’s “findings will be used to inform future policy,” according to the governor’s office.

“We have to make New York healthier. Research suggests that medical marijuana can help manage the pain and treatment of cancer and other serious illnesses,” Cuomo said. “We will monitor the program to evaluate the effectiveness and the feasibility of a medical marijuana system.”

 

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Cops honored for Ridgewood pot bust


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

On Tuesday, December 17, the 104th Precinct Council honored seven officers, who were all helpful during a marijuana bust in Ridgewood in October.

The officers found 580 pot plants, which had the potential to be worth millions.

 

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Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

morning roundup

TODAY’S FORECAST

Thursday: Plentiful sunshine. High 27. Winds NW at 10 to 15 mph. Thursday night: Mostly clear. Low 22. Winds WSW at 10 to 20 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Oliver! The Musical 

Oliver! The Musical at The Secret Theatre in Long Island City is a refreshed version of this theater classic, presented in a contemporary Steampunk style with echoes of the darker Charles Dickens original and all the twists. Thursday-Sunday through December 22. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

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Six arrested after cops find weapons, narcotics inside home


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of NYPD

One man and five women have been arrested after cops executed a search warrant and found 10 firearms, a large knife, marijuana and other drugs, according to the NYPD.

On Friday, April 5 at 6 a.m. members of the 105th Precinct Anti-Crime Team and Field Intelligence Officers searched a home located at 104-23 210th Street and recovered 10 firearms including two Raven Arms .25 caliber semi-auto firearms, 2 Jimenez Arms .380 caliber semi-auto firearms, one Masterpiece Arms (Mac10) 9MM machine pistol with a high capacity magazine and silencer, one Mossberg sawed-off shot gun with a pistol grip, one Smith and Wesson .38 caliber revolver, one Lorcin Arms 9MM semi-auto firearm, one Titan .38 caliber revolver and one Cobra .410 single shot firearm.

Six individuals were arrested including Aaron Lyttle, 25, Malika Evans, 19, Shaniqua Harris, 22, Lashonda Mitchell, 23, Aneesaa Gray, 20, and Michelle Evens, 51.

According to police, the individuals were hit with a large number of charges including several counts of criminal possession of a weapon and the criminal possession of a controlled substance with the intent to sell.