With apologies to Barry Manilow, today I want to tell you a story about “Rico” and it has no connection to the Copacabana.
It does, however, have to deal with drugs and the risky business of an out-of-towner trying to set up shop in the Cataract City.
“Rico” is the street name of a 19-year-old kid from Lombard, Ill. whose government name is Tyler Craig Smith.
While it’s not clear exactly when Rico hit town, he was living in an apartment in the 900 block of Ontario Avenue and, apparently, doing a brisk business selling crack cocaine. Neighborhood complaints suggested that Rico’s crack business was on a par with a fast food drive-thru.
Just walk up to the apartment door, knock and you were on your way. Rico’s operation was so brazen, that two veteran Falls narcotics detectives decided to use an investigative approach that they seldom employ here in an effort to catch him in the act of dealing.
Most city dealers know the NFPD drug detectives on sight, so rarely do they attempt to buy narcotics themselves. But in Rico’s case, investigators went right to the source.
With $20 in his pocket, a Falls detective entered Rico’s building and went to his apartment door. When he knocked, Rico answered.
“Can you hook me up,” the detective asked.
Rico was happy to help. Digging deep into his pocket, Rico pulled out a bag full of smaller bags, each containing a rock of crack cocaine.
The detective asked for a “20” and Rico handed him a baggie with a rock.
With the deal done, Rico then gave the detective his cell phone number and told him to call him back when he needed more.
The next day, the detective called Rico to buy “another 20 piece.” Rico was happy to oblige.