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by Peter Moskos

June 27, 2016

"An Enduring Heroin Market Shapes an Enforcer’s Rise and Fall"

The contrast between this well written piece about a murder victim in the Bronx and that BS piece about a murder in Baltimore is striking.

Not surprisingly, Al Baker is on the byline of the good piece (Benjamin Meuller is first on the byline):
Over nearly three decades, Mr. Perez held court on this block of East 157th Street off Melrose Avenue in the South Bronx. It was here that he climbed the rungs of the street heroin trade, wooed women, muscled out drug rivals from nearby public housing projects and, as he got closer to middle age, counseled young men to save themselves and to get honest work.

By turns brutal and vain, comedic and exacting, Mr. Perez survived police raids, stickups, territorial incursions and a transformation of the city’s drug trade as it came to rely less than it once had on hand-to-hand street sales.
When he was 13, his mother died from complications of H.I.V. His grandmother took him in, but then she died, too. He lived with an aunt until she moved away. A second aunt, Maddie’s mother, took over raising him; about a year later she also died from complications of H.I.V.
As his crew’s muscle, Mr. Perez was targeted for robberies and beatings, friends said. Going to the police was akin to self-imposed exile. He built a reputation on responding with startling force.

“In the streets you just don’t make money, and then get power and respect,” said a friend who worked with Mr. Perez, and who like many people interviewed for this article spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid unwanted attention from rivals or the police. “Hell no. You’ve got to put in some type of work, meaning violence.”

The police arrested dealers in buy-and-bust operations only to find most of them quickly back on the street, whisked through the revolving door of an overburdened court system.
Arguably, Mr Perez shouldn't be honored with a public memorial mural...

It's worth reading all these stories about murders this year in the 40 Precinct. So far there's 1, 2, 3, 4, this one, #5.


campbell said...

No shoutout for Lor Scoota? (who I only know about because of this ridiculous fawning piece in Vice)


"Scoota’s gift to touch the people"! No mention of his priors for possessing a gun with an altered serial number, robbery, DV, etc.

Peter Moskos said...

I'm not gonna lie. I never heard of Lor Scoota and don't really give a damn about him. With my bougie life, I may not be keeping it real. I've been out of Baltimore too long.

Artists and musicians should be cut a lot of slack. I mean, Willie Nelson is an unrepentant and repeated drug criminal! So yeah, do the bird dance all you want and have some fun. That said, *I* wouldn't my kids looking up to a gun-toting drug-dealing robbery-committing motor-dirt-bike-riding victim-of-a-targeted-shooting as a potential role model. But what do I know?

Also, in hip-hop versus club music, I always gravitate toward the latter. (I was very sad when DJ K-Swift died in a swimming pool accident in 2008. I wrote two posts about her death. http://www.copinthehood.com/2008/07/rip-k-swift-club-queen.html http://www.copinthehood.com/2008/07/club-101-baltimore-club-music.html)