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Super at Harlem Anti-Drug Apartment Building Busted — For Drugs

By Murray Weiss | January 20, 2011 3:52pm
NYPD patrol car.
NYPD patrol car.
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By Murray Weiss

DNAinfo Contributing Columnist

I hope no one has a burst pipe at 504 West 134th St.

If you do, you'll be living in a flood zone in no time flat. Your superintendent, Rafael Dejesus, can't help you. He can barely help himself.

Dejesus has been on Rikers Island since last Friday, when he was arrested for allegedly selling drugs to undercover cops at the building owned by the Harlem Restoration Project, a respected nonprofit that took it over to displace drug dealers and to create a healthy environment for residents.

Dejesus, 38, allegedly provided an undercover cop with a telephone number listed to Harlem Restoration Project. Making matters worse for the HRP, Dejesus is a three-time loser who has spent many nights in and out of prison for the last 20 years.

How the HRP chooses its superintendents and whether their backgrounds are thoroughly checked are questions that went unanswered. No one in authority at the HRP returned numerous calls seeking explanations.

Dejesus' rap sheet dates back at least to a gunpoint robbery arrest in the Bronx in 1991, according to state records, for which he was sentenced to a rather hefty 3 ½ years to 10 years in prison.

Despite the severity, parole officials gave Dejesus at least three chances to return to the city instead of serving out his entire sentence.  Each time, he violated parole and was returned to jail before the 10 year term was over in 1997.

He was arrested again on December 23, 1997, by cops in the Bronx. He was behind the wheel of stolen 1988 Audi. When the police flagged him down, he hit the gas and sped off, leading them on a chase that ended when he slammed the Audi into a tree. He was sentenced to another two years to four in prison.

After another few years behind bars, he got out and was arrested yet again on July 1, 2003. He was in another car, but this time there were a dozen bags of cocaine on the top of the driver's seat and in the car's console. He was hit with another two to four years in prison, and was paroled in August 2007 two years before his term was slated to end.

Last Friday, Dejesus was arrested along with three other suspects, Dickson Castillo, 30, Juan Diaz, 31, and Carlos Vega, 26. According to court records, the four of them were selling drugs, specifically crack cocaine, since last August to undercover cops.

"October 8, 2010, after a narcotic related phone conversation at 545 p.m. inside 503 W. 134th St., Dejesus handed the undercover a clear plastic twist containing crack cocaine in exchange for money," according to the criminal complaint.

When Dejesus was picked up, he was taken to the 25th Precinct in East Harlem where he told a detective he understood why he was in trouble.

"I know what this is about," he said. "I just went outside my circle . . . and I f---ed up."

His bail was set at $150,000 bond or $50,000 cash. He had neither.

A call to 504 W. 134th St. the other day was met with an answering machine. "If this is an emergency, please call the super."

So tenants and the HRP better find an interim handyman. Dejesus may not be back for quite some time.