By Maria Rocha-Buschel
Police have noticed an increase in the use of K2 around West 14th Street and Sixth Avenue and believe that smokers of the drug are coming into the city on the PATH train, which has a stop at the intersection.
According to the commanding officer of the 13th Precinct, Deputy Inspector Brendan Timoney, there were at least 10 people arrested for K2, also known as synthetic marijuana, in the last week, and charged with violating health codes.
Timoney discussed the arrests at a 13th Precinct Community Council meeting held on Tuesday, noting that two arrests were made at the Gramercy precinct earlier in the day.
Police arrested 24-year-old Jafet Corrales Molina and 30-year-old Francis Droz for smoking K2 cigarettes on the sidewalk last Tuesday at 7:54 p.m. at the corner of Sixth Avenue and West 14th Street. Three more people were arrested for smoking K2 on the same corner the following day at 2:09 p.m. Fifty-year-old Harry Armstrong, 44-year-old Jermaine Adams and 29-year-old Emanuel Mason were charged with violating public health codes. Two additional people were arrested for smoking K2 in front of 69 West 14th Street near Sixth Avenue last Friday at 6:37 p.m. Thirty-year-old Mekiel McKelvey-Liggins and 28-year-old Jasmine Kennon were charged with violating public health codes and both were allegedly in possession of additional K2.
Residents of the area were also at the meeting to voice complaints about the up-tick in loitering teens in the neighborhood, both around that intersection and on West 15th Street.
Kimon Retzos, co-president of the 15th Street Block Association, said that the older high school students who have been hanging around his block on West 15th between Sixth and Seventh Avenues have been smoking pot and partaking in other illegal drugs. He noted that the neighborhood has been having problems with teens in the area seemingly doing drugs especially in the last year when the bank on the corner closed, and problems have been increasing as other stores in the vicinity close due to condo developments going up on the block.
“There are really only three legitimate businesses around there,” he said. “In the absence of real shops, it’s not a stable community block.”
Apart from the increase in K2 arrests, Timoney reported that crime was actually down in the precinct, with a 15 percent decrease in the last month and a 20 percent decrease for the year.
Although robberies were also down for the month, Timoney specifically pointed out the two robberies in Stuyvesant Town recently, including a mugging that took place last weekend.
A 15-year-old was arrested for the previous robbery of a delivery man in Stuy Town, as reported by Town & Village last week, and police had identified a second suspect, although he wasn’t arrested. Timoney said that the suspect who got away was a few years older than the boy who was arrested and he appeared to be recruiting the younger teen.