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Five NYC Men Fatally Poisoned By Drugs At Bars, Robbed

At least five people have been fatally poisoned with narcotics in what investigators say were schemes by criminal crews to incapacitate and rob people at New York City bars and nightclubs. The killings stretch back months and appear to be the work of different crews, operating independently but using similar tactics, reports the Associated Press. Men slip revelers dangerous levels of drugs to knock them out, then take their wallets and phones, sometimes using their digital banking info to drain accounts. In March, Nurbu Sherpa, 29, a chef, was found dead on the sidewalk after leaving a bar where he had celebrated St. Patrick’s Day. In April, Julio Ramirez, a 25-year-old social worker, died in a taxi after leaving a bar with a group of men. Relatives discovered some of his saving was stolen. In May, John Umberger, 33, a political consultant from Washington D.C., was found dead of a drug overdose in the townhouse where he was staying. Surveillance video showed him leaving a popular club propped up by a group of men. Money was taken from his bank account.

Other men have told stories about being drugged by strangers and waking up to find money gone. The Manhattan district attorney said Kenwood Allen had been charged with murder in Sherpa’s death and in the killing of Ardijan Berisha, 26. Berisha and a friend passed out on the sidewalk in July after drinking at a bar on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. Allen drugged both of his victims with fentanyl, prosecutors said, then robbed them. He is accused in three other cases where victims survived. “Nobody should have to worry that a night out at a Manhattan bar with friends could end in tragedy,” Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said. Police Lt. Det. Dave Leonardi said some of the victims were given a mix of drugs including lidocaine, fentanyl and cocaine — with lidocaine being the substance that incapacitated them. The deaths of Ramirez and Umberger prompted concern that gay men were being targeted. Both died after leaving LGBTQ bars. Some victims and their relatives have complained that the crimes weren’t treated with more urgency by police.


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