Drug Dealers Increasingly Prefer to Operate in Gentrifying Areas

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Photo: Nicholas Asfouri/Getty Images

Is the guy sitting next to you in the cute new coffee place hiding $50,000 worth of heroin in a garage down the block? Probably not — after all, that's a lot of heroin — but, according to law enforcement, it's a little more likely than you might expect. After a large drug bust on Red Hook's Van Brunt Street last week, narcotics officers told the Daily News that the operation was part of a recent trend of dealers choosing to work out of upscale and middle-class communities, apparently because they don't think the police will look for them there. Jay Cortez, whose custom T-shirt store is located across the street from the aforementioned Red Hook site, said that he was "shocked" by its presence, adding: "All this used to be a drug haven back in the early '90s ... [But] the neighborhood is changing." Sure, but New Yorkers always like it when business owners try to pay tribute to their neighborhood's edgy past. [NYDN]