Tag Archives: weed

Cuomo calls for decriminalization of marijuana possession


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Governor Andrew Cuomo today announced plans to urge lawmakers to decriminalize the public possession of small amounts of marijuana in New York.

Private possession of marijuana is currently a violation and Cuomo said this change would bring consistency and fairness to the law.

Carrying less than 25 grams of marijuana in public would become a violation punishable by a maximum fine of $100 rather than a class B misdemeanor. Smoking and selling the drug in public would remain a crime.

The governor said that more than 60 percent of the people arrested for possession of marijuana were young and 94 percent were minorities.

“The effect of a criminal conviction of a young person can alter the trajectory of their entire life,” Cuomo said at the press conference in Albany.

It was also largely a city issue with 94 percent of the arrests coming within the five boroughs.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg released a statement today in support of changing the law.

Last year, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly issued a directive to his officers to issue violations, rather than misdemeanors, for small amounts of marijuana that come into open view during a search.

“The governor’s proposal today is consistent with the commissioner’s directive, and strikes the right balance by ensuring that the NYPD will continue to have the tools it needs to maintain public safety — including making arrests for selling or smoking marijuana,” Bloomberg said.

 

This Morning’s Headlines


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

Teen Accused Of Vandalizing Queens Playground

The teenager police believe was responsible for vandalizing a playground in Far Rockaway, Queens was arrested Thursday. Allan Swafford, 17, was charged with unauthorized use of a vehicle, criminal mischief and burglary. Much of the new equipment in the new Far Rockaway park was broken. The damage will cost the city tens of thousands of dollars and the June opening might now be delayed. Read More: NY1

 

Queens motels shut down, employees arrested in prostitution sting

Two Queens motels were shut down this week after five employees were busted by cops for their alleged involvement in a prostitution ring. Desk clerks Harripersa Ramjattan, Bhaskar Chanika, Wojuech D. Sady, Atm Raham and Masum Chowdhury at the Kew Motor Inn and Par Central Motor Inn, both located in Kew Gardens, were charged for promoting prostitution, falsifying business records, commercial bribe receiving and permitting prostitution. Read More: New York Post

 

Demonstrators Want Police Officer Arrested For Shooting Unarmed Bronx Teen

A rally was held by a Bronx police precinct Thursday night, as advocates demanded that the police officer who killed unarmed 18-year-old Ramarley Graham last month should be arrested and face criminal charges. Ramarley Graham, 18, was shot last month by Police Officer Richard Haste, who along with several narcotics agents chased the teen into his house on East 229th Street in Wakefield after an alleged drug deal. Read More: NY1

 

NYC stores ready to ditch synthetic pot in wake of state ban

Mohamed Alzokri, who runs A&M Candy on Amsterdam Ave. and 89th St., said the prohibition is the excuse he needed to pull the popular money-maker off his shelves “It’s not good for health. They should take it off the market,” he said, but added, “Everybody asks for it when they come in.” After a Daily News investigation on the fake weed often called K2 or Spice, the state health commissioner ordered a ban on its sale or distribution. Letters were sent to county health departments, which must put sellers on notice that they could face civil action if they don’t ditch the dangerous drug. Read More: Daily News

 

Deliberations To Begin In Handyman’s Murder Trial

Deliberations are set to begin Friday in the trial of a handyman accused of killing a Manhattan building cleaner and hiding her body in an air-conditioning duct. A lawyer for Joseph Pabon says officials rushed to judgement when they charged Pabon with smothering 46-year-old Eridania Rodriguez in 2009. But during his summation Thursday, the prosecutor in the case argued the evidence proves Pabon’s guilt. Read More: NY1

 

Mega Millions jackpot grows again, reaches $540M

The Mega Millions jackpot just got bigger — $40 million bigger to be exact. The record lottery jackpot climbed to a staggering $540 million this afternoon, officials said. Since Tuesday’s drawing, when no winning tickets were sold, the jackpot has grown twice — from $363 million to $500 million to $540 amount. The $500 million was already the largest in history for a multistate game. Read More: New York Post

New security plan in works for problem-plagued Village McD’s

The owner of the problem-plagued Greenwich Village McDonald’s met last night with police brass and political reps to hash out plans to improve safety and security, The Post has learned. Some of the ideas floated were the hiring of off-duty NYPD officers to act as guards, giving police remote Internet access to the eatery’s surveillance cameras, and cordoning off seating after a certain hour to prevent customers from lingering, Deputy Inspector Brandon del Pozo of the Sixth Precinct told concerned residents at a community meeting. Read More: New York Post

Teen survives five-story elevator fall at Bronx apartment

A teen miraculously survived a five-story plunge inside a broken elevator at a Bronx apartment building last night, authorities and witnesses said. Kenneth Lacen, 17, had boarded the elevator on the fifth floor of the building on Woodycrest Avenue near Yankee Stadium at around 9 p.m. when it suddenly went into a terrifying free fall and crashed in the basement, authorities and witnesses told The Post. Read More: New York Post

Spike Lee settles for retweeting wrong address

An elderly couple has reached a settlement with Spike Lee after the pair said they had to leave their Florida home after the director help spread a Twitter posting listing their address as that of the man who shot an unarmed teen. The couple’s attorney, Matt Morgan, announced the settlement Thursday. Morgan says Lee called them to apologize for retweeting their address. Specifics of the settlement weren’t disclosed. Read More: New York Post

Drug bust at LeFrak City


| tcimino@queenscourier.com

A seven-month undercover investigation at LeFrak City netted the arrest of 46 people on drug and other charges.

The defendants – who range in age from 17 to 63 – are charged with selling crack and powdered cocaine, marijuana, heroin, and other controlled substances, including prescription medications, to undercover police officers on hundreds of occasions over a seven-month period in and around LeFrak City.

In one instance, it is alleged that 14 undercover drug purchases were made from two men who were operating out of a licensed day care center at the complex. In another instance, it is alleged that in executing a search warrant at another complex apartment, the tenants – one of whom is an inspector at the City’s Taxi and Limousine Commission – tried to evade arrest by releasing a pit bull whose vocal cords had allegedly been cut. The dog was captured, but not before attacking one of the officers who required medical treatment.

“This initiative is yet another step in our continuing campaign to stop drug-dealing and drug-based violence in Queens,” said District Attorney Richard A. Brown. “These arrests underscore our commitment to improve the quality of life for the residents of LeFrak City.”

The investigation began in March 2011 when detectives assigned to the NYPD’s Queens Narcotics Division received information regarding drug dealing around LeFrak City. In response, the NYPD’s Queens Narcotics Division and District Attorney Brown’s Narcotics Investigation Bureau dispatched numerous undercover officers to purchase crack and powdered cocaine, heroin and marijuana. During the course of the investigation, undercover officers additionally purchased methadone, Ecstasy, oxycodone, codeine and Xanax, among other drugs.

Fourteen drug sales were allegedly made out of 98-38 57th Avenue, apartment 2K, which is the location of the state-licensed Burke-Arthur Day Care Center whose listed owner is Diane Burke. Two of the defendants – Hector Rodriguez and Donnell Burnhill who are, respectively, Burke’s son and the father of Burke’s daughter’s baby – are accused of selling undercover officers marijuana, crack cocaine and Ecstasy pills from the daycare center, which has the capacity to care for 12 children.

In addition to the arrests, officers executed thirteen court-authorized search warrants and allegedly recovered nearly seven pounds of marijuana, more than two pounds of cocaine, various amounts of crack cocaine, over 3,600 pills, $3,400 in cash, and a 25-caliber semi-automatic handgun.

In executing a search warrant at 96-08 57th Avenue, apartment 4C, it is alleged that police observed Eugene Griffin, a New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission lieutenant inspector, exiting the location smoking a marijuana cigarette. When told not to move by police, it is alleged that Griffin re-entered the two-bedroom apartment. As police entered the apartment, a pit bull, whose vocal cords apparently had been altered to prevent the animal from barking, was released in an effort by those inside to evade arrest.

Arrested at the location was Eugene Griffin, 62, his wife, Joanne Griffin, 62, their son, Omar R. Griffin, 30, and Ricketta Smith, 23, on multiple charges – including third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, second-degree criminal possession of a weapon and second-degree assault. Allegedly recovered at the apartment were 263 zip lock bags of marijuana, a black bag containing a pound of marijuana, a plastic tube containing cocaine, three electronic scales, a grinder with marijuana, a .25 caliber semi-automatic pistol and other items.

Police additionally served a nuisance abatement order on the day care center, the Griffins’ apartment, as well as three other apartments in the complex.

The defendants are variously charged with multiple counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance, criminal possession of a controlled substance, criminal sale of marijuana, criminal possession of marijuana and criminal diversion of prescription medications and prescriptions.

In addition to drug charges, some of the defendants are variously charged with criminal possession of a weapon, assault and resisting arrest.