April 14, 2013 |
Authorities dismantled a Manhattan coke ring that catered to the snow habits of the wealthy with door-to-door service — at $120 a gram — after a ringleader boasted on social media about living the high life.
Big-mouth accused kingpin Adrian (Ace) Rivera, 24, sparked the investigation when undercover cops began purchasing large amounts of cocaine from him in early 2011, NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly said Friday in announcing the takedown.
But investigators only knew him by his nickname. They searched social media and soon found his Facebook and Instagram accounts, which they used as a jumping off point for their online sleuthing.
The investigation eventually led to the indictment of Rivera and 40 alleged members of three street gangs — the “Money Boyz,” “Blocc Boyz” and the “Stack Gang” — that operated out of housing projects in the lower East Side.
By following Rivera’s online tracks, investigators learned he often bragged on social media about partying with his stripper girlfriend, Krista Zuniga, at Perfection, a jiggle joint near LaGuardia Airport in Queens. Rivera regularly met with his crew at the Queens strip club.
As they continued to dig into Rivera’s online world, aided by his online bragging, they found he was operating a drug business that sold more than $1 million worth of cocaine over the two years that followed the beginning of the probe.
“He was quite popular on social media, often flashing gang signs and cash ... and associating himself with known street crews on the lower East Side,” Kelly said.