Five men charged with selling fentanyl and firearms out of Morningside Heights NYCHA complex: DA

Photo taken by Sarah Belle Lin.

Five men were charged Wednesday for selling semi-automatic weapons and counterfeit Oxycodone pills out of a Morningside Heights NYCHA complex last year, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg and NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell announced today.

Javon Carter, 26, Bryant Diaz, 20, Yadiells Guzman, 25, Javon Peterson, 26, and Malik Phillips, 22, were charged with drug and firearms-related crimes in New York State Supreme Court. All are members of the 3Staccs Crew and operated out of the Grant Houses, according to authorities.

According to the DA, the men sold four firearms, including semi-automatic pistols and rifles, on three occasions, and counterfeit Oxycodone pills a dozen times to undercover detectives between June 7, 2022 and Jan. 30, 2023. The defendants allegedly sold a total of more than 900 counterfeit Oxycodone pills laced with fentanyl.

“Today, New York City is safer because of the exceptional effort and steadfast dedication of everyone involved in this investigation,” Sewell said in a statement. “Illegal guns and illicit drugs are a lethal combination, and the criminals who deal in them must be held accountable for putting New Yorkers at risk.”

Carter allegedly communicated with undercover officers to arrange the sale of firearms and narcotics and then worked with the others to coordinate purchases. The defendants called the narcotic pills “blues” in conversations. 

Through a search warrant, authorities found that Peterson possessed two firearms, including one that was loaded. Phillips was found to be in possession of a firearm upon his arrest.

The five men have been charged with Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree. Both Carter and Guzman have been charged with Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Second Degree. Carter is being additionally charged with Criminal Sale of a Firearm in the First Degree and Criminal Sale of a Firearm in the Third Degree. 

Bragg noted the efforts of the NYPD’s Narcotics Borough Manhattan North, the Violent Crime Squad, NYPD Detective James Burpoe, and undercover detectives in bringing the suspects to justice.

“As alleged, these defendants helped fuel the fentanyl crisis engulfing our city and brought dangerous firearms into our communities,” Bragg said in a statement. “Public housing residents deserve the same safety and security as everyone else, and we will crackdown on anyone who uses these complexes as a base for dangerous criminal activity.”