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‘Street crew’ busted for ’shrooms, coke and crack sales in Washington Square Park

BY THE VILLAGE SUN | Nine alleged Washington Square Park drug dealers are having a bad trip after being caught in a sting operation by undercover officers.

The nine were arrested following an investigation into the sale of psychedelic psilocybin mushrooms and cocaine in the world-famous Greenwich Village park. The undercover investigation, conducted by the Police Department’s Narcotics Borough Manhattan South, began last July, in response to community complaints about open drug activity inside the busy public park.

Bridget Brennan, New York City’s special narcotics prosecutor, and Police Commissioner Edward Caban announced the indictments and arrests, which occurred over the past six weeks.

“The aim of this investigation,” Brennan said, “which was initiated in response to community complaints about rampant drug dealing in Washington Square Park, is to ensure that this public, recreational space can be enjoyed in the way it’s intended to be, and those who live in the surrounding area can feel comfortable in their neighborhood.”

A packet of cocaine allegedly confiscated from one of the defendants. (NYPD)

Police Commissioner Caban said, “Enhancing the quality of life in every New York City neighborhood is integral to the N.Y.P.D.’s public safety mission, a fact understood by the regular visitors of Washington Square Park, who refused to allow this beautiful open space to become an open-air drug market. These arrests represent the reclaiming of a historic area that has long provided New Yorkers a respite from the hustle and bustle of the city. I commend our N.Y.P.D. investigators, and everyone involved at the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor, for their dedication to this important case.”

Seven individuals are charged in separate indictments filed by the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor and were arraigned in Manhattan Supreme Court. The remaining two persons are charged in criminal complaints — one has reportedly already been indicted, but not arraigned on his indictment yet.

The arrests began on Jan. 11, with the most recent one occurring Sat., Feb. 17, followed by an arraignment in Manhattan Criminal Court yesterday.

The investigation revealed that the majority of the defendants were associated with a loosely affiliated street crew operating in afternoon and evening shifts to sell hallucinogenic “magic” mushrooms, cocaine and crack cocaine. In total, the defendants made more than a dozen sales to undercover officers.

A drug seller’s table next to the Garibaldi statue on the park’s eastern side. The sign advertises “Shrooms, Edibles, Flower,” as in, loose marijuana. (NYPD)

According to a spokesperson for the special narcotics prosecutor, many of the sales in this investigation occurred near the Alexander Lyman Holley monument, which is located on the park’s west side. That’s near the park’s notorious northwest corner, which is home to an entrenched hard-drug scene.

This past summer, weed sellers in the park started openly selling magic mushrooms — both plain and in chocolate. (Many delis and bodegas, in addition to selling pre-rolled marijuana joints, also now sell psilocybin chocolate bars from behind the counter.)

Special Narcotics Prosecutor Brennan thanked Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg and commended S.N.P.’s Trial Division and Narcotics Borough Manhattan South for their work on the investigation.

Showing, once again, that Washington Square Park is a destination for drug dealing, most of the defendants are from the outer boroughs, with one coming from as far away as Hempstead, Long Island — 30 miles away from Greenwich Village.

Defendants who have been indicated for criminal sale of a controlled substance include Jordan Gill, 26, and Omalley Harris, 25, both of Brooklyn; Donald Mack, 33, of Hempstead, L.I.; Elisha Roger, 21, of Queens; Kimberly Scales, 44, of Manhattan; and Nazzir Washington, 20, and Victor Whaley, 33, both of the Bronx. Charges of criminal sale of a controlled substance have been filed against Joshua Dunlap, 39, and James Cooney, 21, both of the Bronx.

In August, The Village Sun, in an editorial, called for law enforcement to target hard-drug dealers in Washington Square Park.


  1. Ned Ned February 25, 2024

    Does anyone know what kind of sentences these people will get if convicted. I hope they won’t just get a slap on the wrist on the way to setting up drug dealing again

  2. Mel Mel February 23, 2024

    The cops need to make it very uncomfortable for the drug dealers and the buyers in that northwest corner of the park. There is a camera trained on them up in a tree, so someone is watching everything that goes on. Need to arrest sellers and buyers in this neighborhood. They wouldn’t be here all the time if they didn’t have good sales. Residents and students are drawing this crap here.

  3. A Villager A Villager February 22, 2024

    These raids need to happen more often. The community has been outraged and very vocal for far too long. Continue to bust the dealers and cut off the pipelines. WSP should not be a destination for drug purchase and use.

    Missing from this article is recognition for our 6th Precinct, which is both responsive to the community outcries as well as engaging other NYPD divisions and city agencies to battle this scourge.

    The northwest quadrant is still strewn with many, many hypodermic needles all over, including adjacent to the children’s play areas. If it is not regularly remediated, there should at least be safe needle disposal receptacles for the safety of patrons and park employees.

    Thanks, Village Sun; please keep up the regular coverage and amplifying this community’s voice.

  4. min min February 22, 2024

    Thank you to Village Sun for the detailed reporting!

    Also appreciate the important mention that WSP is a destination for the activity – that sellers live elsewhere and are traveling here for this purpose…

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