THE BRONX, NY – A massive drug sting spanning three boroughs has netted nine arrests, authorities said— including that of a dealer who allegedly sold cocaine at a Bronx restaurant while his children sat nearby.
Steven Ildefonso of The Bronx allegedly commuted by ferry to handle his drug business on Staten Island, where he and two other people — Peter Faustin and Anthony Devito — were allegedly involved in distributing heroin and fentanyl, a powerful and potentially deadly painkiller.
A yearlong investigation involving wiretaps uncovered a drug supply chain involving six other citywide suppliers operating in Manhattan and The Bronx, including three who used an Upper West Side bodega as their base, the New York City Special Narcotics Prosecutor’s Office said.
The nine men allegedly sold drugs to an undercover cop on nearly a dozen occasions, the Special Narcotics Prosecutor’s Office said — including one at the bar of a Marble Hill Applebee’s where Ildefonso had brought his kids.
“Selling deadly fentanyl became a banal, everyday affair for members of this drug ring,” said Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget G. Brennan, who added that Ildefonso “put a sinister spin on ‘Take your Kids to Work Day.'”
The NYPD and the Staten Island District Attorney’s Office started examining Ildefonso, Faustin and Devito in September 2017, officials said. Investigators found he would commute from the Bronx to the St. George ferry terminal, where he was taken by car to conduct his drug business, the Special Narcotics Prosecutor’s Office said.
Ildefonso also operated in the Bronx, officials said — he allegedly sold more than 1,000 glassine bags of heroin to an undercover cop in February for $6,000 in the case’s largest undercover sale.
About two months later on April 5, officials said, he arrived at the Applebee’s with three children who sat at a table while he and two alleged suppliers — Vincent Hanemann of The Bronx and Juan Reyes of Manhattan — met an undercover cop at the bar. A fourth person who hasn’t been arrested was also there, officials said.
The cop ended up paying $2,775 for 58 grams of cocaine at the restaurant, officials said. Ildefonso was arrested a week later, when more than 22 grams of heroin and other drugs were found in his apartment, the Special Narcotics Prosecutor’s Office said.
Also arrested were Jose Rosa, Danny Santana and Julio Delacruz, three high-level drug suppliers who were allegedly based out of a bodega at West 107th Street and Manhattan Avenue, officials said. Authorities say they were involved in selling cocaine, crack cocaine and heroin.
Six of the men were arrested Thursday while the other three were previously collared, including one who’s awaiting extradition from Pennsylvania, the Special Narcotics Prosecutor’s Office said. They were set to be arraigned Thursday in Manhattan on charges including conspiracy, criminal sale of a controlled substance and criminal possession of a controlled substance.
“As we continue to see lives lost to addiction illness, it remains crucial that we hold the dealers accountable for peddling this poison in our communities,” Staten Island DA Michael McMahon said in a statement.