Above, Police Officer Nicholas Mina is arraigned in court Friday on charges of selling stolen police guns for drugs. Below, Chelsea resident Jennifer Sultan, a member of the alleged drug ring, being led into court. Photos by Jefferson Siegel
Dealt guns for drugs
Police arrested Nicholas Mina, 31, a Ninth Precinct detective, on Thurs., Jan. 12, for stealing four loaded pistols and a bulletproof vest from the lockers of fellow officers in the stationhouse at 321 E. Fifth St. earlier this year.
Mina, identified as addicted to painkillers, was charged in the conspiracy to sell the guns and vest to a Queens gun and drug dealer along with five other defendants, one of whom has not yet been apprehended.
Also arrested was Ivan Chavez, 24, of Woodhaven, Queens, charged with dealing drugs and weapons and supplying Mina with oxycodone and other drugs. Marcos Echevarria, 22, of Brooklyn was charged with possession and sale of weapons.
Meryl Lebowitz, 64, of Queens, was charged with possession and sale of weapons and a controlled substance. Jennifer Sultan, 38, who lives in a luxury apartment at E. 17th St. and Fifth Ave., was charged with selling guns and drugs to Chavez.
A raid on Chavez’s Woodhaven apartment on Jan. 12 turned up a TEC-9 machine pistol, a sawed-off shotgun, thousands of prescription pills, a large quantity of heroin, blank prescription pads, 30 ID and credit cards in various names and $61,000 in counterfeit bills.
The case broke after undercover police bought weapons from Chavez, including guns loaded with police-issued ammunition.
Mina was suspended from the New York Police Department.
Mina and the other suspects were arraigned in court on Friday. Assistant District Attorney Christopher Prevost read the charges against the officer, then said, “It shocks the conscience that…undercovers had to put their lives in danger to stop another police officer from putting guns out into the streets.”
Judge Edward McLaughlin looked at Mina and declared, “I don’t believe there is any bail that would assure this person’s appearance in this courtroom ever.” At that, Mina slumped forward, his head momentarily dropping to the table before he was led out of the courtroom.
Four of the defendants were ordered held without bail. Sultan was ordered held in lieu of $45,000 cash or $150,000 bond. All five were remanded back into custody.
In a statement, Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance said, “This defendant endangered the very public he took an oath to protect, at a time when gun violence is destroying lives every day.”
Police on Mon., July 16, arrested a person of interest in the June 29 shooting deaths of two women whose bodies were found in a fire on Henry St. A New York Post item said the person of interest, a tattooed gang member, was arrested on a Delta airliner at J.F.K. Airport about to take off for Hong Kong.
Firefighters found the victims, Xiao L. Li, 70, and Yong Hua Chen, 36, shot in the head in a ground-floor apartment where two fires had been started at 83 Henry St. near the Manhattan Bridge overpass.
Law enforcement officials had impounded the suspect’s car two days before his arrest.
A man followed a girl, 16, and her 15-year-old boyfriend when they got out of the subway at Sixth Ave. and 14th St. at 6:20 a.m. Sun., July 15, making sexual remarks as they walked down to W. Eighth St., police said. Inside Gray’s Papaya, the suspect took the girl’s eyeglasses and a $20 bill and then punched her when she tried to take her property back. Police arrived and arrested Aramis Halley, 26, and charged him with robbery.
A resident of 36 Grove St. left home around 6:35 p.m. Thurs., July 5, and returned a half hour later to find that a laptop had been taken. There was no sign of forced entry, police said.
A burglar broke into the front door of an apartment at 13 Carmine St. on Sat., July 7, sometime between 2:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. and stole an iPad, a laptop computer, $1,500 in cash and jewelry, police said.
Didn’t Occupy chain
DNA on a CD player found eight years ago in Inwood Hill Park where a Juilliard student was murdered appeared last week to match DNA found on a chain used as part of an Occupy Wall Street demonstration in March at an East Flatbush subway station.
But the match was soon found likely to have been the result of careless handling by a lab technician who worked on both cases.
An O.W.S. spokesperson said he was outraged that police had searched for DNA on a chain used in a peaceful protest, but Police Commissioner Kelly defended it.
The mistake still leaves the mystery of the 2004 murder of Sarah Fox, the Juilliard student. Only one suspect ever emerged from the Fox murder, Dmitry Sheinman, but he was never charged. Sheinman moved to South Africa but returned to New York recently where he was reported giving police the name of the true killer which, he claimed, came to him in a psychic vision.
Cab rams man in Soho
A taxi cab hit a 50-year-old man around 4:20 a.m. Sat., July 14, at the corner of Broadway and Prince St., knocking the victim unconscious, according to reports. An Emergency Medical Service unit took the victim to Bellevue Hospital where he was said to be in stable condition. The cab driver remained at the scene and police said no criminality was involved.
Police arrested Orlando Rodas, 34, around 5:30 p.m. Wed., July 11, for using his cell phone to video under a woman’s dress as she walked up the stairs of the Union Square subway station. The phone’s video function was still running when the arresting officer confiscated it.
– Albert Amateau with Jefferson Siegel