By Trevor Kapp, Murray Weiss and Leslie Albrecht
HARLEM — Members of the "Kings of Dust" drug gang that terrorized a Harlem public housing complex are suspected of carrying out several murders and half-a-dozen shootings while controlling their $1 million-a-year PCP and narcotics empire, police sources said.
Prosecutors on Wednesday released a 268-count indictment against the 35-member drug gang, which investigators said put an 8-year-old boy to work keeping watch for cops as older members peddled massive quantities of PCP and other drugs.
The indictment charged gang members with conspiracy and drug sales, but police sources said Thursday the gang resorted to murder on several occasions.
Tenants at the New York City Housing Authority's Milbank Frawley Houses at 1780 Madison Avenue said Thursday they lived in fear for months as the alleged drug dealers ran rampant, intimidating locals.
The alleged drug gang members urinated in the elevator and in hallways, fought at night, and fired a gun at the housing complex at least once, residents told DNAinfo.
Tenants said they watched helplessly from their windows as the gang took over the complex, gathering nightly in a courtyard that served as a hub for their drug trade. Prosecutors said the gang hid 2.5 gallons of PCP, which is sold both in liquid form and crystallized as Angel Dust, in Hawaiian Punch bottles.
The gang was made up of men, women, and some "very small" children, residents said.
"Every day I'd see them out the window," said Luis Pena, 43, whose apartment overlooks the courtyard. "Every hour there'd be more people."
Maxine, a 65-year-old resident, said she was afraid to go out late at night, when the gang seemed most active. "We were scared of getting robbed," she said.
Some said the drug activity seemed to increase about a year and a half ago, then intensified in the past five months. Residents said they wondered why it seemed to take police so long to stop the gang's criminal activity.
"There were mad dustheads in the building and on the corner," said Marcella, a 56-year-old resident. "I don't know how the cops took so long."
Investigators tracked the drug gang's activity for 15 months, prosecutors said Wednesday. The probe was sparked by residents' complaints, but some said Thursday that officials seemed to brush off their concerns.
"I was scared," said a 60-year-old resident named Yolanda. "We went to (the New York City Housing Authority) to say it was very dangerous and there were people outside. They didn’t do anything. They just fixed the door. They said call the police."
A NYCHA spokesperson said the agency worked closely with the NYPD and was aware of the drug activity at the Milbank Frawley Houses.
NYCHA was working to evict the residents who were involved, a NYCHA spokesperson said.
"We will continue to assist residents in working with the NYPD in any way that we can, and periodic meetings have taken place with...police officers regarding criminal activity," the spokeswoman said.