A Fox News producer, a Chipotle executive and an associate at Merrill Lynch are among a group of 18 high-flyers who have been arrested after a massive New York cocaine ring was cracked.
Katie Welnhofer, 29, who works on ‘Mornings with Maria’ on Fox Business, and the Mexican fast food chain’s Chief Marketing and Development Officer, Mark Crumpacker, 53, have been indicted after the operation.
Christopher Dodson, 28, a client associate at Merrill Lynch, and his brother Austin, 24, an associate at real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield, were also arrested.
Underwriting consultant Christian Jewett, 31, Marwood Group senior associate Kyle Holmes, 27, tax accountant Roman Yoffe, 36, and Huffington Post blogger and education professional Alexander Mallory, 31, were also among those indicted.
They were all charged with the criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree, according to court documents seen by Daily Mail Online.
It followed a year-long investigation into a massive drug ring that sold $75,000 worth of cocaine and operated from the Lower East Side.
Three kingpins Kenny ‘Jay’ Hernandez, Felix Nunez and Oscar Almonte were also arrested.
They allegedly used livery services to deliver cocaine to customers throughout Manhattan.
The probe is believed to have begun after investment banker Thomas Hughes jumped to his death from his 24th floor luxury apartment in May last year.
Reports suggest police found the number of his dealer on his cell phone when they searched his home.
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance said: ‘Drug dealers profit by sowing seeds of addiction that destroy lives, families, and communities.
‘We are dedicated to stemming both the supply and demand for dangerous narcotics, and the crime that accompanies the market for illegal drugs.’
‘I thank my Office’s prosecutors and our partners at the NYPD, and in particular, the undercover detectives who put their lives at risk to protect our City’s residents,’ said Police Commissioner William J. Bratton.
‘This narcotics operation was organized and discreet, but it could not withstand the precision of this long-term investigation’.
‘Selling cocaine in a variety of bars and clubs throughout Manhattan, the ringleader also allegedly sold to NYPD undercovers on more than a dozen instances.
‘I commend the brave work of all the investigators who built this case, along with the Violent Criminal Enterprises Unit at District Attorney Vance’s Office.’
From June 2015, they were allegedly obtaining, transporting, processing, packaging, selling, and delivering large quantities of powder cocaine to customers throughout Manhattan, the indictment reads.
Hernandez oversaw the ring and personally conducted the vast majority of the sales, including eleven separate sales to undercover detectives.
As detailed in the indictment, members of the ring allegedly used car services to deliver the drugs to buyers, including to delis, restaurants, bars, apartments, hotels, and the buyers’ workplaces.
The defendants delivered to locations across Manhattan, including the Lower East Side, the Upper East Side, Chelsea, the Financial District, and Midtown, as well as areas of Brooklyn and Queens. Many of the sales took place in delis or Duane Reade and CVS pharmacies.
Customers generally paid between $200 and $300 per transaction.
Welnhofer and the Dodsons were arraigned in Manhattan Criminal Court on Thursday morning.
According to the indictment, Welnhofer made two purchases of cocaine – one in March and one in May – to an address on West 25th Street.
The producer was led into the court in a jumpsuit with handcuffs and with her hair pulled back. She was held on $15,000 bail.
According to her Facebook profile, Welnhofer is from Wilmette, Illinois. Before joining Fox Business, where she produces for ‘Money Honey’ Maria Bartiromo, she worked for One World Sports.
The Northwestern University graduate has also been a producer of Good Morning America and had stints at Inside Edition and CNBC.
In November 2014, she attended Eric Trump and Lara Yunaska’s lavish wedding.
At the time she and Lara were colleagues at Inside Edition. It is not believed that she and the Trumps remain friends but she does still post on his social media pages.
This article originally appeared on the Daily Mail.