FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, October 4, 2023
Six Defendants Charged with Conspiring to Traffic Narcotics Following Undercover Investigation into Open-Air Drug Deals in Bedford-Stuyvesant
Operation Began in Response to Numerous Community Complaints
Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez and New York City Police Commissioner Edward A. Caban today announced that six people have been indicted in connection with a narcotics trafficking ring that operated primarily in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. Four of the defendants are charged with acting as a major trafficker.
District Attorney Gonzalez said, “This indictment reflects our commitment to responding to complaints from concerned neighbors and to take drug dealers off our streets. We allege that these defendants profited from the misery of addiction while upending the sense of safety in the community where they brazenly operated. Thanks to the hard work of my Detective Investigators, the NYPD and prosecutors from my office, we will now seek to hold them accountable for their criminal actions.”
Commissioner Caban said, “Drug trafficking is a scourge not tolerated in New York City, neither by law enforcement nor the people we serve. And together with our partners at the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office, the NYPD will continue working toward a city whose neighborhoods are free of illegal narcotics and those who seek to profit from their proliferation.”
Three of the defendants, Lance Spearman, Herbert Bazemore and Larry Childress were arraigned today before Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Donald Leo on an indictment in which they are variously charged with acting as a major trafficker, second- and fourth-degree conspiracy, second- and third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance, and third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. Acting as a major trafficker is an A-I felony. Spearman was ordered held without bail; Childress was ordered held on $500,000 cash bail or $1 million bond; Bazemore was ordered held on $1 million cash bail or $1.5 million bond. All of the defendants were ordered to return to court on December 8, 2023.
Three additional defendants will be arraigned on a later date. Jermalee Reese is charged as part of the above-mentioned conspiracy indictment. Steve Rich and Travis Davis are each charged in separate indictments with criminal sale of a controlled substance and other related counts. [See defendant addendum.]
It is alleged that over the course of the investigation, from May 2022 to October 3, 2023, the narcotics dealers operated primarily in the vicinity of Putnam Avenue and Nostrand Avenue in the 79th Precinct in Bedford-Stuyvesant. The investigation began following detailed community complaints about open-air drug dealing at the specified location. Detective Investigators from the District Attorney’s office and NYPD detectives from Narcotics Borough Brooklyn North conducted the investigation, which included making a total of 25 undercover narcotics purchases from the six defendants.
It is alleged that the defendants variously sold quantities of crack cocaine and heroin (which was packaged in distinctive green glassines). The investigation was conducted with the use of undercover detectives and physical and electronic surveillance.
In addition, following a car stop on September 23, 2023, police allegedly recovered approximately 60 green glassines of heroin from defendant Herbert Bazemore’s pocket. Each glassine sells for approximately $10 and are packaged in bundles of 10. After obtaining a search warrant for his vehicle, 59 bundles consisting of 590 glassines and more than $5,000 were recovered from inside the car.
In the wake of today’s takedown, the Brooklyn DA’s Office reached out to local elected officials, neighborhood leaders and community-based organizations to apprise them of the law enforcement action. The office will partner with them to provide support and services to help those experiencing substance use disorder get the help they need, while working together to deter others from filling the supply gap created by today’s prosecutions.
The investigation was conducted by KCDA Detective Investigators and New York City Police Detectives and Officers assigned to the Narcotics Borough Brooklyn North.
The case is being prosecuted by Senior Investigative Assistant District Attorney Matthew Bennett, of the District Attorney’s Violent Criminal Enterprises Bureau, and Senior Assistant District Attorney Theresa Robitaille, of the District Attorney’s Organized Crime and Racketeering Unit, Senior Assistant District Attorney Anne Volk of the District Attorney’s Crime Strategies Unit, and Senior Assistant District Attorney Radiyah Dobre, also of VCE, under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Gillian DiPietro, VCE Deputy Chief, Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Cilia, VCE 1st Deputy Chief, and Assistant District Attorney Alfred De Ingeniis, VCE Chief, and the overall supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney David Klestzick, Deputy Chief of the Trial Division and Gregory Thomas, Senior Executive for Law Enforcement Operations.
- Lance Spearman, 43, of East New York, Brooklyn.
- Herbert Bazemore, 43, of Crown Heights, Brooklyn.
- Larry Childress, 49, of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.
- Steve Rich, 58, of Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
- Jermalee Reese, 53, of East New York, Brooklyn.
- Travis Davis, 34, of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.
An indictment is an accusatory instrument and not proof of a defendant’s guilt.