UNIONPORT — An ex-con who was once part of a cocaine ring run out of a Bronx pizza parlor was fatally shot in the head and left in his burning Gleason Avenue home Wednesday night, sources said.
"There was a lot of smoke last night. It was thick, all black. I touched his door because it was open a few inches. I tried to go in, but the smoke wouldn't let me. There was no light. It was too dark," said the building's super, José Borrel, 35.
Firefighters brought the blaze under control just before midnight, an FDNY spokesman said.
Farrow, who has two daughters and was released from federal prison in October, was pronounced dead at the scene, officials said Thursday.
"He moved in two months ago. He lived by himself. He was a nice guy, always said hello. He spoke well," Borrel said.
"[The] only time I ever saw him get mad is there was a mouse once," the super added.
It wasn't immediately clear why Farrow was shot. Investigators found a shell casing, but no gun, police said. There were no immediate arrests, police said.
Police on Thursday night released footage of the suspect, who was last seen sporting a beard, a baseball cap, a waist-length jacket and blue jeans.
Four firefighters also suffered minor injuries and were treated at Jacobi Medical Center, an FDNY spokesman said.
Farrow had been arrested eight times since 1988, sources said. From 2004 through 2006, he was released from prison each year only to return a couple months later, prison records show.
He was convicted of criminal possession of a controlled substance in April 2008 and released that August, records show.
But then Farrow was arrested in November 2008 for buying cocaine he intended to sell from the Burgos organization drug ring run out of John's Pizza on Westchester Avenue, officials said. The organization would import up to 10 kilograms of cocaine at a time and parse it out in pizza boxes to customers and dealers posing as deliverymen, officials said.
“Using their pizza shop as a front for drug trafficking, the dough that this organization made was not from the sale of pizza but rather illegal narcotics," said DEA Special Agent in Charge John P. Gilbride.
"Through concentrated law enforcement efforts this organization’s brick ovens have been shut down,” Gillbride added.
Farrow was arrested with a kilo of cocaine and about $50,000, officials said.
He was arrested in February of the following year and later pleaded guilty to orchestrating drug deals through the United States Postal Service, documents show.
Farrow organized a cocaine shipment scheme in which the drugs were wrapped in cellophane and hidden in coffee grinds or grease and shipped from California to a woman in Catskill, New York, prosecutors said.
He would then pick them up from Catskill and sell it, prosecutors said.
Postal inspectors were suspicious when the person who dropped the packages off at the Post Office in California sped away and made sudden lane changes in their escape, prosecutors said.
A narcotics dog named Bleu also positively identified the smuggled drugs in a lineup of boxes, prosecutors said.
Investigators allowed the package to continue to its Catskill destination, and then moved in for an arrest after the woman accepted the package at her apartment and summoned Farrow to pick it up, documents show.
Farrow tried to evade law enforcement by running into the bathroom, and by the time investigators caught up to him, 500 grams of cocaine were strewn throughout the bathroom and in the filthy toilet, documents show.
Farrow initially tried to convince authorities that he'd just come to the apartment to get a cigarette and talk to the woman about "personal stuff," documents show. But in December 2009, he pleaded guilty to the drug charges, documents show.
His lawyer, Jeffrey Chartier, argued at the time that Farrow should get a light sentence because he had such an unstable upbringing and wanted to turn his life around.
"Farrow has never had the support group of an intact family. He has never had the support of a strong parental hand. He has always been in the middle of the storm that has been survival in the streets," Chartier wrote to the case's judge.
Chartier also said Farrow wanted to build on two years of a college education he'd already received behind bars and be a good father to his two daughters.
"He, better than anyone, knows they need a father. Mr. Farrow intends to be that father. He intends to show his children that he can do things the right way," wrote his lawyer, who also noted that Farrow was asthmatic.
Farrow spent the next seven years behind bars until his release from the Federal Correctional Complex in Allenwood, Pennsylvania, in October, records show.
Chartier did not immediately return a request for comment.
Anyone with information should contact Crime Stoppers at (800) 577-TIPS (8477).