September 17, 2019
Manhattan New York

Upper West Side man ran cocaine distribution ring out of dead mom’s apartment, earned $1.2M a month

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A cocaine kingpin, after the death of his mother, turned her Upper West Side apartment into the headquarters of a massive, multi-state drug ring, cops said.

Gerardo Gonzalez, 43, was among six people busted for running an operation estimated to have sold up to 10 kilos of cocaine a week, raking in more than $1.2 million per month.

Investigators used wiretaps and other surveillance to connect Gonzalez to a money launderer in Brooklyn, a cocaine distributor in Pittsburgh and a street-level dealer in the Bronx, authorities said.

Agents and investigators observed Gonzalez conducting drug deals and meeting with suppliers in the street and inside cars along his quiet Columbus Ave. block, authorities said.

Gonzalez turned the apartment into the hub of his operation after his mother passed away in August 2017, said Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget Brennan

“As this case demonstrates, no neighborhood is too sedate for drug traffickers,” Brennan said.

“As we have seen before, a familiar, quiet residential neighborhood is attractive real estate to a drug dealer who wants to lay low, avoid detection by law enforcement and escape the notice of stick up crews who might view him as an easy mark for robbery.”

When the authorities swooped in to arrest Zhao, they found $180,000 in cash in his bag, officials said.


Authorities say Gonzalez in the last five months twice met with alleged money launderer Xiongbin Zhao, 24, to hand over more than $350,000.

Investigators were watching as Gonzalez handed over a duffel bag to Zhao outside a 76th St. apartment in Dyker Heights on Jan. 3.

When the authorities swooped in to arrest Zhao, they found $180,000 in cash in his bag, officials said.

Two months later, investigators raided Gonzalez’s apartment — turning up two kilos of cocaine, $60,000 in cash and more than 30 grams of heroin mixed with meth and an animal tranquilizer.

The six suspects are expected to be arraigned later Thursday on charges ranging from conspiracy to criminal possession of marijuana.

The eight-month-long investigation was carried out by multiple agencies including the Drug Enforcement Administration and the New York state police.

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