NEW YORK (WPIX)—Two enterprising drug dealers were busted Thursday night after police were tipped off about their unique advertising scheme -- business cards attached to copies of the Village Voice.
Miguel A. Guzman, 43, and Thomas Zenon, 40, would surreptitiously remove the free papers from the distribution box outside an NYU dormitory on 10th St. and 3rd Ave. and attach business cards with the Coca-Cola logo or a livery cab with the words "Purple Rain ... Up in Smoke" before putting them back, police said.
Police learned the business cards were also showing up in multiple high-rise apartment buildings in TriBeCa, along with other locations.
Both men are from Washington Heights and would divide delivery duties depending on the day of the week; their cell phones made an average of 170 incoming and outgoing calls on the busiest nights, police said.
Usually the exchanges were made in the delivery cars, and according to police the high quality cocaine - sold at $60 per gram - was known to be very cheap on the street.
The NYPD's narcotics division had been gathering evidence on the two men for three months after receiving a tip from "a man who is known to law enforcement," according to the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor.
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and Special Prosecutor Bridget G. Brennan announced Friday that the delivery operation supplied cocaine and marijuana to more than 200 customers throughout Manhattan.
Undercover officers made numerous drug buys from the pair totaling $4,520, with the largest coming on Nov. 23 and Dec. 22, 2010 when officers bought more than half-an-ounce of cocaine for $1,100.
Police arrested Guzman, also known as "Biggie", on the way to meet a customer on Manhattan's Upper West Side. Guzman was carrying 16 grams of cocaine, more than $1,600 in cash, four cell phones and Coca Cola business cards inside his vehicle, police said.
Zenon, a.k.a. "G", was arrested in a Washington Heights restaurant, and search of his car turned up 20 bags of marijuana in a coffee thermos, Purple Rain business cards, a Dasani water bottle with a removable bottom, a GPS device and two cell phones, police said.
On Friday, both pleaded not guilty in Manhattan Supreme Court to charges of multiple counts of 2nd and 3rd degree criminal sale of a controlled substance. Zenon is also charged with 4th degree criminal sale of marijuana.