Doris Smith, 72, walks with a cane, yet provided solid assistance to her son-in-law as he ran a million-dollar-a-year drug ring from her Harlem apartment. The grandmother of 7 and great-granmother of one confessed Wednesday to allowing her daughter’s husband, Lamont Moultrie, 42, to stash the drugs that fueled his business in the co-op where the family lived.
Smith’s apartment provided shelter for her daughter Nicole McNair Moultrie, 41, Lamont, and the couple’s 11-year-old son. Living adjacent to an empty unit Smith accessed as president of the co-op board, the great-grandmother repurposed the adjoining space plus the dwelling’s basement to warehouse the PCP, crack and heroine distributed by the alleged drug kingpin’s gang.
“The upstairs apartment served as the heart of the PCP trade,” reports New York’s Daily News, “with gang underlings dipping spearmint leaves into 5-gallon cans of the liquid drug.” Moultrie’s gang was so proficient, they came to be known on Harlem streets as the Kings of Dust.
Granny Smith — known to those in the know as “Mama Dot” — was the matriarch of the operation. In addition to providing a home base of operations, wiretap evidence shows that Smith warned Lamont about police investigators and instructed him on how to evade them when officers entered the building.
“I’ve listened to the wiretaps,” Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Edward McLaughlin commented about her involvement. “She knew what was going on, and tried to deflect the police.”
Following a 15-month investigation, 35 suspects were taken into custody in January. In addition to Lamont and Nicole McNair Moultrie, Bernard Moultrie, Lamont’s 39-year-old younger brother, was also arrested. The two siblings were charged as drug gang chiefs, and will be tried under New York state’s Drug Kingpin statute.
Mama Dot faces a milder fate. After being held in custody since February, Smith pled guilty yesterday to criminal possession of a controlled substance and conspiracy to distribute drugs. Having traded the three-bedroom apartment she lived in for 30 years for a prison cell, she is expected to be sentenced to no less than five years in October.
Smith acquired her place at 101 W. 115th St. for just $250 in 2004 through a program that promotes home ownership for the poor. Neighbors described the gangster gran as a strong community presence, who flaunted her ill-begotten riches and her role in creating them.
She also spread her wealth. The elderly woman drove a Lamborghini, yet gave Christmas gifts to local youth.
“She’d sit on the steps and give the kids presents — dolls, cars, toys,” one neighbor noted. “My heart hurts for her.”
Alexis Garrett Stodghill on Twitter at @lexisb.