NYC pharmacists and shopkeepers blast sudden explosion of migrants who are flagrantly running illegal street market for stolen goods and prostitution

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Written By Maya Cantina
  • The shopkeepers on Roosevelt Avenue in Jackson Heights have blasted the open air illegal street market that has popped up
  • Milton Reyes, manager at Mi Farmacia, has no idea where they are getting the  merchandise they are selling, but said, ‘they will sell anything that they can sell’ 

Shopkeepers in New York City have slammed the sudden increase of migrants who are flagrantly running illegal street markets, including flogging stolen goods and prostitution. 

Milton Reyes, the manager at Mi Farmacia, whose shop is located along the Roosevelt Avenue strip in Jackson Heights, Queens, told DailyMail.com that these illegal vendors are a nuisance – smoke, drink, leave garbage behind – and called the situation ‘out of control.’ 

He said: ‘It started with one or two guys sporadic and now it is so bad you can’t cross the street. The random neighbors. The stores being pillaged. 

‘We are having issues with prostitutes, issues with people not feeling safe, can’t cross the street, can’t visit their doctors offices.’

The pharmacy is located on the same street as some medical offices, a health clinic, and discount stores, but when the illegal street market opens it becomes ‘unruly.’ 

Milton Reyes (pictured) manager at Mi Farmacia located along the Roosevelt Avenue strip in Jackson Heights said these illegal vendors ‘will sell anything they can sell’

Illegal vendors are out on the streets of Roosevelt Avenue with one vendor - wearing a black face mask over his head - loading up his goods, including speakers and electronic equipment on a trolley

Illegal vendors are out on the streets of Roosevelt Avenue with one vendor – wearing a black face mask over his head – loading up his goods, including speakers and electronic equipment on a trolley 

Black garbage bags, toaster ovens, and electronic equipment tossed out on the corner of the Jackson Heights street

Black garbage bags, toaster ovens, and electronic equipment tossed out on the corner of the Jackson Heights street 

Reyes said: ‘They start as 8am and stay until dusk – all day – everyday – selling anything from pot and pans, clothes and shoes, to electronics and power equipment. 

‘To be honest with you I don’t know where they are getting this merchandise – they will sell anything that they can sell.’

The situation, he predicts, will get worse as the weather gets warmer.  ‘Eventually they will be on both sides of the streets all the way around.’ 

‘I understand coming to a country like this is not easy, but you are also infringing on the rights of other people who live here and pay taxes – it is not fair.’

He said some of them are up against the store windows and blasting music and smoking weed right in front of the pharmacy all day long.’

‘I have to tell them not to sit there and place merchandise there. I have to tell them please lower the music, this is a business.’

Reyes said at times he feels unsafe. He added: ‘Sometimes the vendors are arguing over where to set up – it is unruly. You don’t want a customer feeling uncomfortable spending money in your business you want them to feel comfortable and feel safe.

When he has asked them to leave, he said some listen but others, ‘look at you like, “this is a free country I will do what I want.”‘

There was a police van spotted further down the Avenue.

Reyes said: ‘The police will come by from time to time and they’ll pick up some of the vendors – fifteen minutes later they will set up all over again.’

Claudia Canizlez, manager of discount store on Lot-Less on the corner of 91st. and Roosevelt Avenue said that the illegal market affects their business and its employees

Claudia Canizlez, manager of discount store on Lot-Less on the corner of 91st. and Roosevelt Avenue said that the illegal market affects their business and its employees

Lot-Less is one of the stores located on Roosevelt under the train trestle

Lot-Less is one of the stores located on Roosevelt under the train trestle 

He said that many of the elderly people take car services to their doctor’s appointment are unable to get dropped off in front of the medical officers along the block.

‘Where are they going to cross the street,’ he asked. ‘We are talking about elderly people with canes and walkers.’

Reyes said the prostitutes, at first, were on Roosevelt, but after a police crackdown the shops were closed down. But he said: ‘The prostitution has escalated all over again.’

The pharmacist said: ‘I am not sure they are all migrants but where did these woman come from all of a sudden – sometimes that is the easiest way they can make money.’

Claudia Canizlez, manager of discount store, Lot-Less across from Mi Farmacia said that the illegal market affects their business and its employees.

‘It upsets me because it takes business away from us. They sell it cheaper, and  people will buy it from them instead of coming inside to shop. 

Some of the clothing she has seen them selling are name brand merchandise that still have tags on them – like what shoppers would see in stores like Macy’s, JC Penney and Target. 

Rafael (left) and Carlos (right) , who have been living in the country for more than 20 years, sell used clothes and used shoes on the same street- and have to compete with these vendors that are peddling stolen goods

Rafael (left) and Carlos (right) , who have been living in the country for more than 20 years, sell used clothes and used shoes on the same street- and have to compete with these vendors that are peddling stolen goods 

‘We are the ones paying rent, paying taxes and paying people to work, but if there is no customers coming in then we have to cut their hours because the sales are not there – all because of this.’

The loss of business is not her only gripe. It is also the garbage that is left behind.

A woman, who did not want to be identified but lives nearby, called it a ‘disaster.’

Canizlez said that the street is ‘narrow, congested, and hard to walk,’ when the vendors are out. 

She said: ‘The doctors will tell you they have issues because their patients can’t come in because they are blocked so their appointments are being canceled.’

On Sunday, The New York Post showed photos of many of the illegal vendors selling used clothes, used shoes, power tools, electronics, microwaves.

However, Canizlez said that many of them did not show today, most likely, because work was being done on one of the buildings.

Two men, Rafael and Carlos, sell used clothes and used shoes on Roosevelt and 91 Avenue. The pair been in the country for more than 20 years.

Speaking through a translator, they told DailyMail.com that they are there to work so they can support their families, but now have to compete for business and share the street with the new wave of migrants.

ᴀʀᴛɪᴄʟᴇ ꜱᴏᴜʀᴄᴇ

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