Two men have been arrested after police discovered a major heroin operation running out of a Brooklyn candy store.
Mohamad Ali, 46, and Hamdan Alsaidi, 33, were arrested June 24 on charges of "operating as a major drug trafficker," as well as charges of drug possession and use of drug paraphernalia. The arrests came after police found a secret door behind Gates Candy & Grocery in Bushwick, which led to the discovery of a massive heroin-selling hub, the New York Daily News reports.
Officers found the secret door during an inspection, searching for untaxed cigarettes. The door had been disguised as a shelf, according to Gothamist.
After obtaining a search warrant, police found more than a truck-load's worth of drugs and packaging materials. Police found resealable plastic bags filled with what is suspected to be heroin, along with two barrels full of a cutting agent, as well as what is reported to be fentanyl, a prescription painkiller sometimes used to cut heroin.
Fentanyl has been linked to drug overdoses around the area. Police found boxes filled with enough glassine drug envelopes to package more than 1 million bags of heroin.
The drugs are currently undergoing tests at a lab, NYPD officials told New York Daily News.
"It's crazy! It's crazy! I would never have guessed, honestly. I go there to pick up chips and drinks all the time," Benny Senises, a resident of the neighborhood, told WCBS. "At face value, you see what you see, but you never know what’s going on behind closed doors."
William Morales, another neighbor, said that while the events had shocked almost everyone in the neighborhood, the store had seemed suspicious. Morales added that he had seen a lot of expensive cars stopping at the store late at night, allegedly to buy 'candy.' He also said that the store's selection of food had left something to be desired.
"They don’t have anything there fresh, or anything that I’ve seen," said Morales. "You know, I went there once and everything was old."
Morales noted that although the store had seemed suspect, "they were doing it on the down, down, very down low!”