Cops: 18-year-old girl planned drug robbery at gunpoint
Police say they believe a Garden City Park teen orchestrated a scheme that ended with two people being robbed at gunpoint on Sunday during a drug deal. Investigators say seven people have been charged in the incident, and they believe the ringleader was 18-year-old Heather Steele. They say Steele arranged to meet two people for a drug transaction on 5th Avenue. While Steele was sitting in the car with the pair, identified as Benjamin Zohar and Kathryn Chao, a group of four men pulled up to the car and one of them drew a gun, police say.
The men demanded Chao's bag, which allegedly contained more than a pound of marijuana and $500 in cash. Somehow, Steele managed to flee, but investigators say she was the one who set up Zohar and Chao and planned the entire robbery.Authorities say the incident was witnessed by two neighbors who watched from a window nearby. The neighbors did not want to release their identities. Police say Steele and her alleged accomplices, Jose Lopez, 22, Jonathan Mercedes, 18, Jonathan Vasquez, 20, and Jorge Frias, 21, have each been charged with two counts of second-degree robbery. They say Lopez is also charged with criminal weapon possession.
Zohar and Chao were both charged with second-degree criminal sale of marijuana.