In the absence of any real police opposition, Whiting became a 'hood legend. As the New York Boys pumped poison in the projects, Whiting was getting recognition for his good deeds. He bought outfits for the Caribbean Festival, sponsored trips to water parks for neighborhood kids, and passed out hundreds of toys at Christmas. "When God came around, the day turned great," says Mann Terror. "He might buy out the ice-cream man and make him serve the whole projects."
The cornerstone of Whiting's charity was the Crown Social Hall at 48 Geneva Avenue, just off Blue Hill Avenue. The 10,000-square-foot space opened each day at 6 am and was used by dozens of families as a day-care center, complete with a professional staff of counselors and instructors. It also featured a nonprofit organization offering drug counseling, health-care resources and job training.
Crown Social Hall also hosted some of the era's biggest rap stars during the golden age of hip-hop. Whiting hired Queen Latifah, Poor Righteous Teachers, EPMD, and more to perform in Boston at a time when few venues in the city supported hip- hop.
In 1990, he told a Phoenix reporter: "I guess I'm just a humanitarian."
More recently, he was less coy. "I [opened the center] to set an example for all black guys getting drug money to give back to the community in some way," Whiting said.
US Attorney Wayne Budd first realized the extent of Whiting's empire after Ric Kahn's devastating profile of the dealer, a 1990 cover story in the Phoenix. Budd said he was immediately offended by Whiting's arrogance. "He threw down the gauntlet, in a way . . . when he had the audacity to appear in the newspaper," Budd says.
IN TOO DEEP
Budd prioritized the prosecution of Whiting over a case against New England mafia boss Raymond Patriarca after he learned Orchard Park kids viewed Whiting as a role model.
"In an interesting way Darryl Whiting was a new and different kind of organized crime figure than Raymond Patriarca," Budd says. "He was the perfect negative role model for inner-city kids. He induced them with gifts and trips to amusement parks to get them into the organization and sell drugs. He did not hesitate to kill or maim folks who got out of line. He was just the kind of guy I thought was deserving of the full weight of the federal government's resources."
However, Whiting rarely got directly involved in the daily operations of the New York Boys and had layers of managers monitoring the business, Budd says. To reach him would require an exceptional undercover agent.
On April 4, 1990, a flamboyant Rhode Island drug dealer named Jay Reed walked into Crown Video, a store owned by Whiting, and met Whiting's employee Raymond (L.A.) Ward. A month later he bought a shotgun from Ward for $250. Ward told Reed he could roll in Orchard Park and that Ward would get him all the drug customers he could handle.
Jay Reed was actually Jeff Coy, an undercover Boston Housing cop working with the DEA. A veteran of more than 20 undercover missions in two years, Coy once estimated he made over 400 undercover drug buys. Kelly says Coy was a "street-smart African-American guy who had the game" to infiltrate the most closed-off crack organizations.