Four New Yorkers were arrested for allegedly selling psychedelic mushroom products out of two different East Village storefronts, prosecutors announced Thursday.
It was announced that 33-year-old Brooklyn resident Steven Phan, the alleged owner of Come Back Daily, located at 516 East 11th St., and 44-year-old Brooklyn resident Mohamed Ahir, the alleged owner of City Clouds, located at 120 East 7th St., were both charged with criminal sale of a controlled substance in the fifth degree. Additionally, 24-year-old Queens resident William Brako and 22-year-old Manhattan resident Nina Fink were both charged with criminal sale of a controlled substance in the fifth degree and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree.
Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget G. Brennan said, “The NYPD and Office of Special Narcotics responded to community complaints and concerns about illegal drug dealing in commercial establishments. I thank those who care enough about their neighborhoods and protecting public safety to alert us to the ongoing problem of distribution of illegal substances by purportedly legitimate businesses.”
According to court documents, an investigation began due to a series of community complaints. The investigation involved a series of undercover purchases and court-authorized searches by members of the NYPD Narcotics Borough Manhattan South.
The investigation allegedly revealed that the psychedelic mushrooms were stored and sold inside a secret back area of Come Back Daily and customers that were interested in purchasing them would allegedly pass through a public section of the store and say a code phrase to a receptionist. Buyers were then allegedly directed to a hidden door that led to a back room that contained a counter, an office/storage area and a lounge, and in this area, the customers would allegedly purchase illegal controlled substances, such as psilocybin mushrooms in various forms.
Court documents indicate that on two different occasions, undercover officers allegedly purchased shrooms at Come Back Daily. On Nov. 1, an undercover officer allegedly went to the store at 4;28 p.m. and received psilocybin mushroom pills from Brako in exchange for $70 in cash. Then, on Dec. 20, at 4:13 pm. an undercover officer allegedly received 10 pills of psilocybin mushrooms from Fink at the store in exchange for $70 in cash.
After the alleged second sale on Dec. 20, members of the NYPD’s Narcotics Borough Manhattan South executed a court-authorized search of Come Back Daily, where Phan was present and allegedly identified himself as the owner of the store, and Brake and Fink were also present. The search allegedly uncovered a large quantity of psilocybin mushroom products in various forms, including pills, mushrooms, chocolate bars and gummies, from the back of the store.
Officers allegedly seized almost 1,500 psilocybin mushroom pills packaged inside sealed containers that held 10 or 30 pills each; 59 medium ziplock bags of “Mushie” brand psilocybin mushroom in mushroom form; 24 medium ziplock bags of “Mushie” brand psilocybin gummies; a box containing 35 large chocolate “Polka-Dot” psilocybin mushroom bars, a box containing 8 small “Polka-Dot” psilocybin mushroom bars; 3 yellow wrapper mushroom chocolate bars; and four plastic bags containing psilocybin mushrooms. Also recovered was approximately $1,884 cash. All three defendants were taken into custody that day.
Also on Dec. 20, an undercover officer allegedly entered City Clouds at 3:44 p.m. After asking for a “One Up” mushroom chocolate bar containing psilocybin, Ahir allegedly handed the officer the bar in exchange for $50 cash.
Ahir allegedly identified himself as the owner of the store to arresting officers and was taken into custody that same day. A second “One Up” mushroom chocolate bar containing psilocybin was recovered in a search of the store.
“Our intelligence-driven investigation, stemming from community complaints, has put a stop to this criminal activity and demonstrates, once again, that the NYPD and our law enforcement partners will never waver in our fight against the harm caused by illegal drugs,” said Police Commissioner Keechant L. Sewell. “I want to thank our NYPD detectives from Manhattan South Narcotics for working so swiftly and effectively with our partners in the office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor for the City of New York to make this important case.”