This summary holdover proceeding is brought by the New York County District Attorney’s office under a new program created by the Prosecutor’s office and other governmental agencies designed to evict drug dealers from residential and other real property used for illegal drug trade, business or manufacture pursuant to RPAPL Section 715.
This eviction program is the progeny of the explosion of drug related crimes which have overwhelmed the City of New York and have sent a wave of fear throughout the communities of the city. The District Attorney’s office has realized that many of the drug dealers are conducting their insidious trade directly from residential premises, with impunity, since many local residents and neighbors are in fear for their safety and lives to report such illegal activities to the authorities. The Prosecutor’s office and other City agencies realized the need for intervention.
Police officers found heroin and the total amount of $22,983.00 in the apartment of the respondents. Respondent-tenants contend that Petitioner has failed to present any evidence of illegal drug crime conducted in the premises since there was no evidence offered by Petitioner to show that any of the Respondent-tenants engaged in a sales transaction of a controlled substance nor did the police find any controlled criminal substance in the premises.
The court stated that the burden of proof under RPAPL Section 715 does not require proof of the commission of the specific illegal acts but it is sufficient that the acts and conduct complained of warrant an inference of the illegal purposes for which the premises are being used. (City of New York by Redlich v. Goldman, 78 Misc.2d 693, 356 N.Y.S.2d 754; Kellner v. Cappellini, 135 Misc.2d 759, 516 N.Y.S.2d 827; also see RPAPL Section 715(1)).
The different accoutrements and items found in this apartment would lead the Court to infer that the apartment in issue was being used by Respondent-tenants for an illegal activity which appears to be lucrative and dangerous. This inference can be drawn from the large volume of cash, an electronic dollar bill counting machine, weapons and ammunition, and a bullet proof vest found in the premises.
The evidence in this case showed that Respondent-tenants had much more income than what was disclosed in the income affidavit of Respondent. Respondent-tenants failed to offer any credible evidence to show how a family of 6 with no apparent means of support other than the limited benefits from welfare and social security can legally accumulate such a large sum of cash and assets. Maybe from a robbery.
Based on the inordinate amount of evidence presented in this case against Respondent-tenants, the Court finds that the apartment in issue was the nerve center and headquarters of a large narcotics operation, where narcotics were stored and sold. All of the Respondent-tenants were involved in this illegal operation and enjoyed the fruits of their illegal trade.
The Court also finds Respondent-tenants’ argument that none of the tenants in the building testified against Respondents to be unpersuasive. One of the reasons why the Prosecutor’s office is bringing these eviction proceedings is that the tenants refuse to testify against known drug dealers because they are in fear of their safety and welfare.
Respondent-tenants also argue that the police laboratory analysis reports should not have been admitted into evidence. Respondent-tenants contend that since the laboratory reports were not admissible evidence, even if the Court found that the white substance recovered from the grounds outside of the building came from apartment 17H, there was no proper proof to show that the white substance was heroin.
At trial, the Court admitted the police laboratory analysis reports into evidence as the business record of the New York City Police Department under the business record rule pursuant to CPLR Sections 4518(a) and (c).
The illegal use of the subject premises by the Respondent-tenants constituted an illegal trade, not larceny business or manufacture pursuant to RPAPL Section 715(1).
Accordingly, the Court grants a final judgment of possession in favor of Petitioner against Respondents with the issuance and execution of the warrant forthwith.
Our New York Drug Crime Lawyers from Stephen Bilkis and Associates are dedicated on allowing you to obtain your rights under the statute. It has offices within New York Metropolitan area, including Corona, New York.