12 People Arrested in Drug Bust on Monday

Controlled substances and more than $10k in cash.

By Carol Tannenhauser

On Monday, August 31st, between 4:35 pm and 8 pm, narcotics detectives from the 20th Precinct arrested 12 sellers and buyers of controlled substances around the neighborhood, according to an NYPD spokesperson. Confiscated were heroin, marijuana and k2, as well as cash totaling more than $10,000 and a BMW. The 20th Precinct announced the bust in a tweet.

Most of the arrests took place between 77th and 83rd Streets, near Broadway. “I hope the community is happy with it,” Captain Neil Zuber, commander of the 20th, emailed WSR. “It was a good effort.” He promised to provide us with more details about the events, which we will add as soon as received.

Here are the names of those arrested:

Cheyenne Webber 45 arrested in front of 2300 Broadway charged with criminal possession of controlled substance

Monte Laguna male 44 arrested at Broadway and 79 Street charged with criminal sale of controlled substance

John Jollen male 56 arrested in front of 229 West 78 Street charged with criminal sale of controlled substance

Francisco Quezada male 50 arrested at Broadway and West 78 Street charged with criminal possession of controlled substance

Innis Free male 47 arrested in front of 228 West 78 Street charged with criminal possession of controlled substance

Branden Fell male 36 arrested in front of 222 West 80 Street charged with criminal sale of controlled substance

Naketa Clarke female 31 arrested at Broadway and 77 Street and charged with criminal sale of marijuana

Angel Pena 35 year old male arrested in front of 129 West 69 Street charged with criminal possession of marijuana

Milagros Maldonado female 22 arrested at Broadway and 77 Street charged with criminal sale of marijuana

Rolando Almodovar male 41 arrested in front of 129 West 69 Street charged with criminal possession of marijuana

Curtis Branch male 34 arrested at Broadway and 77 Street and charged with unlawful possession of marijuana

NEWS | 88 comments | permalink
    1. Ben Jad says:

      One battle won. Let’s pull together to win the war and return the Upper West Side to its decent, law-abiding and caring citizens. More than ever the NYPD deserves our support and respect for bringing civility and tranquility back to our neighborhood.

      • Joey says:

        This is Community policing at its best. People in the neighborhood complaining about drug use, open pot use, open sales and the NYPD actively responding. Cuff em and stuff em. Turn up the heat Captain Zubber! Back u your officers and tell em to enforce the law.

    2. Lois says:

      Hmmm … what’s at Bway and 77th street that attracts so many heroin dealers ?

    3. N2NY says:

      Five marijuana arrests? Oh thank goodness the UWS is safe again! When will we see cops on foot patrol again?

    4. Leon says:

      Bravo. Great work by the police. Thank you for your efforts. This is what many of us have been asking for. Hopefully these charges will stick and they are not back on the streets doing the same thing in a few days.

      I hate to ask, but were any of those arrested residents of the hotels? By getting rid of the bad apples in the hotels, it will greatly help those who are using the temporary residences for the right reasons.

      • LK says:

        They might not be, but the reason they were there is the increased demand from the hotels. The bus stop on 79 & broadway ( by dsw ) is a crack den…

        Great job, NYPD!
        All of this during daytime! Check around 6 AM and at night…

    5. Ben David says:

      “We hear the #UWS Community’s concerns.” Yes, the NYPD hears—thank you!
      But the people we vote for: mayor, borough president, council, congress, etc., do not hear. The next time you step into a voting booth for LOCAL elections, do not think about Trump. Think about who will arrest the drug dealer on your corner.

    6. Josh P. says:

      Possession of personal amounts of marijuana has been decriminalized. https://gothamist.com/news/ny-officially-decriminalized-marijuana-today-heres-what-you-should-know

      The police have been ordered to focus on other priorities. Why does the NYPD continue to ignore our elected officials?

      • lynn says:

        Maybe the ‘other priorities’ are getting these men off the street? How can this fall under the category of ‘personal amounts,’ when they’re selling it? The men at the encampment on 72nd are regularly smoking pot and using heroin. I hope the police will make their way down to our block as well.

      • Jack says:

        Doesn’t seem like these were “personal amounts”….

    7. birdman25 says:

      I’m all for arresting heroin dealers, but is the precinct really bragging about arresting two guys for having weed on them?

      • data_guy says:

        12 dealers in a 2 block radius supplying surging demand near an elementary school. Nothing to see here folks.

        In other news, a mostly peaceful mugging on Riverside drive. Details at 11.

    8. irenea says:

      Maybe instead of random marijuana busts they can re-assign the two cops who man the barricades on Columbus and 82St protecting the precinct (from us?) and put them on 79 and Broadway?

      • Jack says:

        There also are always 1-2 police vehicles guarding the Teddy Roosevelt statue on CPW and yesterday morning there were THREE police vehicles guarding the Columbus statue in the Park. Great use of resources as residents report disturbing issue after issue on the streets of the UWS.

        • Da Homeless Hero says:

          Oh wow… I’ve walked past these barricades and officer’s and always asked “why are they standing there”. I never put it together that they were guarding statues. I mean really? Statues. No wonder why shootings are going up. SMH!

    9. Steve says:

      It is been over 12 hours, since these arrests. Is it safe to say that all of those detained are now safely back on the street?

      • Josh P. says:

        For marijuana? I sure hope so.

        • Ll says:

          re we reading the same article?

          A few were arrested for selling pot, for buying. But a few for controlled substances, which is definitely not marijuana. Buying heroin IS a big deal. Buying K2 is a bigger deal

        • EricaC says:

          As I continue to hope that my child will recover from addition issues relating to marijuana, and learn more about the impact of marijuana on teenagers, I do wish people wouldn’t act as though it is harmless.

    10. CrankyPants says:

      Great news, keep up the good work. We need to see law enforcement out there and at work. I saw two plainclothes detectives at work yesterday around 6pm at 86/Bway and really appreciated their presence. “Quality of life” issues for the neighborhood are precisely what are stake. Thank you NYPD!

    11. Paul says:

      Here’s the kicker..they’ve ALL already been released with a summons.

    12. Gary Fishman MD says:

      Thank you. We support and need our police to keep the neighborhood safe. Just yesterday walking home I saw syringes and needles on the sidewalk in front of the Duane Reid at 79th and Amsterdam. Please keep patrolling the neighborhood. We need you to return the upper westside to a safe family oriented neighborhood as it once was.

    13. UWSdad says:

      Thank you to the police!

    14. Big Earl says:

      Cops scored a nice bag of weed, probably about a pound. The conviction will be expunged in a year or two when weed becomes legal in NY. Many states around us have legal weed. NY looks foolish holding off on the inevitable. I have friends from across the nation sending me pics of their legal plants in their backyard. They average a pound a plant, so legally they can grow 4-5 pounds, but in NY you get cuffs slapped on your wrists. Let’s hope the cops focus on the harder stuff going forward. Stuff where convictions won’t to be overturned or expunged shortly.

    15. Vincent says:

      Just a reminder that the war on drugs has and will always be a complete failure.

    16. chris says:

      I don’t know about your personal drug habits Josh but I don’t think that 10k was for “personal use.”

    17. Nigel says:

      Shame in those that cheer for this. Taking the liberty and dignity of our neighbors for something that the fortunate do indoors. Why don’t we provide homes, jobs and treatment instead?

      • Steven says:

        Oy. They are certainly welcomed to consume the drugs they buy in the privacy of the luxury hotel room that NYC taxpayers are providing for their private use.

        • kaylord says:

          From what I understand, previously homeless residents of local hotels aren’t allowed to do any drugs indoor. Do we know those arrested are from the hotels? I wondered if it was people who work in the area but live elsewhere smoking weed outdoors.

          • Boris says:

            If you were a drug dealer and learned that the City just put hundreds of potential customers in hotels on the UWS, where would you focus your marketing efforts? It’s not inconceivable that these drug dealers weren’t hanging around this neighborhood before.

      • Peter says:

        There’s liberty and dignity in selling crack cocaine in the middle of a residential neighborhood?

        This has got to be some new level of wokeness.

        What’s next? Shaming us for wanting to disrupt the freedom of flight trajectory of bullets hitting by-standers?

        • Josh P. says:

          “Crack cocaine” isn’t mentioned anywhere in this article. Please stop the hysterics.

          • Steven says:

            True crack cocaine is not mentioned. But heroin is, and half those arrested were cited for criminal possession of a controlled substance. Is that distinction really relevant?

            • Josh P. says:

              Yes, accuracy and truth are important. We’ve seen what happens when we start cutting corners on those things in our national politics. The Upper West Side can do do better.

        • UWS Lady says:

          Thank you to all the police in the 20th Precinct. Your work is much appreciated. I just hope that those arrested are not let out on bail. Our “woke” politicians have let us down but you have not. Thank you again.

      • LK says:

        My moral compass must be so messed up. I thought we, as a community, should strive for children, women, and seniors being safe on the streets. But apparently we should strive for the dignity of the drug dealers and drug users on our streets. This hurts my brain.

      • Boris says:

        When do you usually take your unicorn out for a walk?

      • nemo paradise says:

        We do. In fact, the admirable Mrs. de Blasio spent almost $ 1 billion on “mental health.” Ask her where the money went, because right now, no one can tell us.

    18. Joanne says:

      Arresting people for drug possession does not make our neighborhood safe. Since when did pot smokers endanger us? We need patrols and quicker responses when calls are made.

      • Steven says:

        Personally I would feel much safer without heroin being sold and consumed on the street.

      • Boris says:

        Half the dealers sold a controlled substance other than weed but you chose to ignore that. Having dealers in the neighborhood does not make us safe so I’ll go with getting rid of them. Is that the type of person you want populating the neighborhood?

      • chris says:

        these people are drug dealers. that is pretty different from personal possession. i don’t understand why it is OK to take away a restaurant’s liquor license for not selling food with booze but it is fine by people to have drug dealers on the same streets their kids walk around on.

        • Boris says:

          There’s no logic to comparing two completely different types of laws.Each law is designed to deal with a specific behavior and they don’t neutralize each other.

    19. Hyman Rosen says:

      Why would I cheer people being arrested for victimless crimes? Or NYPD appealing to UWS bluenoses?

    20. MAD says:

      Just sent a link to this article to Gov. Cuomo. Keep up the pressure! We need police back on the streets and better ways to detain those who are dangerous.

    21. UWSider says:

      Thank you to our NYPD!
      I stand behind our Police and Police Departments nationwide. The call to defund our Police is a disgrace. Yes, there is good and bad in every facet of every industry, but to pull funding from the people that put their own lives on the line everyday is incomprehensible.

      NYPD – Thank you for taking charge and starting to clean up this mess.

    22. Al says:

      I don’t use marijuana any more, but I think it should be legalized and criminalizing it is a waste of precious lives and police resources

    23. Blumpkin says:

      What’s with all the middle-aged drug dealers?

    24. Jane says:

      I was told that concerns about the neighborhood being overrun with hundreds of homeless drug addicts were unfounded and “racist.”

      How can this be!

    25. Julian says:

      In other states, people can but marijuana legally in stores, with permits. How is it making the neighborhood any “safer” to get rid of kids with limited economic prospects that resort to peddling weed to people to make the money they’d otherwise make if we didn’t live in a city with little economic opportunity. I’m glad my guy isn’t on this list, he does a great service to me, helping me self-medicate, where in dozens of other states I’d be able to make those transactions legally.

      • UWSider says:

        Then you should move to one of those states. It is illegal in New York.
        How do you not realize that arresting a dozen drug dealers within a 5 block stretch makes this a safer place? I’m glad “your guy” hooks you up, but I don’t want my kids or my neighbors kids being approached on the street by these criminals. Yes, criminals.

        • Julian says:

          Trust me, the demand for marijuana on the upper west side, especially among Columbia students, is such that usually you have to seek them out and wait hours tills they’re ready. I can guarantee you that none of these gentleman are out trying to solicit to your kids. Upper classmen at Columbia grammar and Dalton are some of the most eager to “score some pot”. Is it right? maybe not, but the reality is that high schoolers in any locale in america are doing the same, and going through that experimental phase. MJ sellers are as much essential workers as the liquor store clerks.

      • Cliff says:

        why do you have to self medicate?????

        • Julian says:

          Severe depression and anxiety, and my psych is well aware that I incorporate it into my prescribed medication regimen. He’s a Sean Connery-looking gent who lives in a prewar triplex in the west 70s and tokes occasionally himself.

      • SPL says:

        And Julian, in other states, people can sell guns legally with permits. So, would you be happy if people were selling guns on the street? Your logic doesn’t make sense. These are drug dealers and I am thrilled that they were arrested. Thank you NYPD.

    26. UWSHeView! says:

      I guess these drug dealers are driving into our neighborhood in a BMW from somewhere else and making a lot of cash selling these drugs to folks who hang out on Broadway. Like you, I’m a wealthy rent stabilized liberal Democratic voting longtime Upper West Side living crazy/weird/normal person. But, I do support, appreciate and always defend our local police who serve and protect us. They put their lives on the line every day. We are lucky to have them just as we are lucky to be wealthy liberals in this beautiful neighborhood. Drug dealers need to stay out of our area! Like First Lady Nancy Reagan once said: Just say Go!

    27. Wickster says:

      Thank you 20th precinct! Wonderful work!

    28. inna kissen says:

      YES!!! When community gets together, even DeBlasio could not stay in their way. Great job, NYPD!

    29. UWSider says:

      Just wait until the weather cools off a little. You’ll find dealers and addicts escaping the cold and tucking themselves into your doorways and stairwells to do business and get high.
      If you think this is a joke, you’re being foolish. This needs to be cleaned up quickly.

    30. data_guy says:

      Who got busted with the “Felix the Cat” fanny pouch? Fashion forward AND utilitarian.

    31. TR Lansner says:

      Legalize–and tax–marijuana now. Let police focus on violent crime!

    32. The KMan says:

      My thanks to the 20th precinct for making these arrests and getting these losers off the street and hopefully permanently out of our neighborhood. They will always be unwelcome.

    33. David says:

      What a waste of resources. Addicts should be offered rehab, and/or a safe place to use. They are on the streets and buying from criminals because of poor public policy. And busting people for pot? Come on. If there is any criminal activity associated with people selling small amounts on Broadway, the people who should be punished are the legislators who still have not made pot legal, taxed, and regulated.

      • Steven says:

        They are on the streets buying from criminals because heroin is a controlled substance, which, by definition is being sold on the streets by criminals.

    34. NotImpressed says:

      Thank you NYPD!
      You have plenty of supporters here on the UWS.
      Please know that.

    35. Lincoln10023 says:

      Thanks Captain Zuber. Looking forward to reading the details in your follow-up.

      • Ken says:

        Ditto. And would be more than nice if your statements referred not to “your” quality of life, but “OUR quality of life.” Not at all a minor point if you want to promote the police as a part of the community rather than an alien protective presence.

    36. Eleanor Selling says:

      Captain Zuber, we are so grateful to you and your fellow officers for doing everything you can to return this neighborhood to safety. Thank you.

    37. julie says:


    38. Dan says:

      Coincidence that most of these busts are near the homeless hotels?

    39. Mimi says:

      Thank you, NYPD. Would they also address the drug dealings on 108th and 109th by the school which had been under scaffolding for many years?

    40. Joan Fishbein says:

      If those people hadn’t been moved into the
      neighborhood, they wouldn’t have been arrested
      there. The police are doing excellent work
      that hasn’t been needed before in that area.
      How wonderful for our children to see crime
      in action. Real virtual values.

    41. Senior says:

      Thank you! Be safe.

    42. Christi Ann says:

      Thank you NYPD!!!

    43. Joy says:

      Bravo 20th precinct!! NYPD, the community salutes and thanks you. No surprise so many arrests near the 77th St. Belleclair shelter and the drug dealers camping out under the 77th St. scaffolding. ONE OF 3 MEN’S SHELTERS IN AN 11-12 BLOCK AREA. Really, such thoughtful planning.

      • Susan Cohen says:

        maybe all the trillions of dollars being spent on elections
        should go to rehab centers where are all the social workers
        where are agencies on the street setting people up with jobs where is the repair where is the hope this city is gone unless there is a major overhaul why isn’t every teacher doing work now by zoom or in the park why are kids on the streets now what is going on here

    44. Mark says:

      The fact that FIVE of these people were arrested for selling pot — and yet, one f***ing PATH ride away, or one Metro North ride away, you can *legally* buy the most “dank” boutique strains — is INSANE.

    45. Matt says:

      Hi this is one of the people that was arrested that day when yal say the cops was doing there job first they ran down on me because I was black period I had nothing on me now reading the comments it’s clear the fake cops doing these arrest to please yal and to get brownie points I will not let this go we are human I could care less how this community feel there are people on our side so if you want to play dirty then the hell with your community we gonna continue to be what you say we are