Shirley Gerard is thrilled that authorities have been able to crack down on a drug operation in her New York City Housing Authority apartment building, even though it meant arresting her own grandson.
Matthew (MZ) Gerard, 32, was one of 18 suspects charged in a crackdown on dope dealers in the New York City Housing Authority homes. Authorities broke down Shirley’s apartment door in their hunt for her kin.
“I raised Matthew and his brother as best I could,” said Gerard, a 75-year-old lung cancer patient who struggled to catch her breath. “They got him. Let them keep him.”
Residents of one of the Brooklyn NYCHA buildings said the drug dealers seized control of a fourth-floor apartment belonging to a disabled 47-year-old man.
Mannix Carrion was briefly evicted last year for missing his rent payments, and returned to find the newly situated drug crew peddling PCP, marijuana, crack, cocaine and heroin from his home.
Authorities said a NYCHA worker provided access for the Towaz Boys drug operation to run a “New Jack City”-style sales operation from the apartment.
“Those guys took over his apartment,” said one elderly tenant. “There were five or six regulars, but a lot of men and women came and went.
“You’d open your door and they’d be smoking crack and everything else on the stairs.”
She identified Gerard — who was permanently barred on three occasions from NYCHA properties — as one of the people living in Carrion’s place.
“I told (Carrion) to tell them ‘Get out,’” the tenant said. “He said they pulled a gun on him … They took advantage of him.”
Nina Strickland, 49, said her apartment was similarly co-opted by dealers when she was hospitalized.“The gangs broke in, lit fires, sprayed graffiti and sold drugs out of here,” said Strickland. “(NYCHA) won’t give me a lock. So every time I leave out, anybody can come on in.”
NYCHA housing caretaker Shakina Rowe, 27, was charged Friday with giving the drug dealers access to the Nostrand Ave. building.
Two other agency staffers were busted for buying marijuana from the apartment-turned-drug den while in uniform and on the job.
Sheepshead Bay tenants association president Linda Wade, whose husband Ernest was arrested for selling heroin, was astounded to learn of Rowe’s role.
“Oh my God — her?” she said. “She’s such a good worker. How could she risk her career like this?”
Another suspect, 24-year-old Jameek Baker, was permanently banned by NYCHA in 2015 for selling crack in the lobby of his mother’s Sheepshead Bay apartment building.
Though arrested last year for possession of a loaded firearm, he remained listed as a resident of his mom’s household.
Yevgeniy Polushkin, 46, watched Friday morning as law enforcement descended on the sprawling development in search of suspects.
“There was a swarm of over 30 cops,” Polushkin said. “They had pictures of the dealers they wanted. They busted down doors and put about eight people in a van. I recognized three of them.”
The arrests culminated a 16-month probe by the Department of Investigation, the city’s special narcotics prosecutor, the Brooklyn district attorney’s office, the NYPD and the FBI.
Matthew Gerard was arrested in 2009 with seven bags of crack and booted from his grandmother’s apartment two years later.
But he was arrested for selling crack on NYCHA property in 2014 and ignored subsequent “permanent exclusion” notices in 2015 and 2016.
“He’s been off my lease for two years now,” said Shirley Gerard. “He’s in the street. He walks these grounds. Matthew grew up here. I can’t stop him.”
Linda Wade said she and her 15-year-old daughter, an honor roll student, were handcuffed during the sweep. She defended her husband, who was charged with selling $1,000 worth of heroin to an undercover.
“I don’t believe it,” she said of the allegations against Ernest Wade, 58. “I’m not going to say anything about these lies.”
Mannix, who was cuffed in the raid on his apartment and later released, stayed mum when asked about the drug dealing and arrests. “I don’t want to get into that,” he said. “I’m not getting into that.”
Poor Shirley. She did what she could.