Chipotle marketing chief Mark Crumpacker was arrested by New York City police this morning for allegedly purchasing cocaine from a drug ring that used car services to provide home delivery.
Crumpacker, officially chief creative and development officer of the burrito chain, surrendered to authorities after being indicted last week following a one-year sting operation by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. and the New York City Police Department. He was charged with seven counts of possessing a controlled substance, a misdemeanor offense.
Crumpacker, 53, was seen being led into a courtroom in handcuffs, flanked by officers of the NYPD.
At the time he was indicted, Chipotle indicated that Crumpacker was being put on administrative leave until the matter could be resolved. Chipotle has termed the issue a personal one. Police have agreed that the charges had nothing to do with Crumpacker’s fulfillment of his duties at Chipotle, and noted that most of his alleged purchases were delivered to the 53-year-old’s Manhattan apartment.
However, authorities revealed a correlation between the alleged cocaine purchases and Chipotle’s problems. The chain was involved in a series of E.coli poisonings at units across several states in October, November and December.
The negative publicity tripped Chipotle into a sales free fall that it failed to shake as more details of the outbreak emerged.
Police say Crumpacker was first recorded while buying cocaine on Jan. 29, right before the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was scheduled to reveal details about how Chipotle had handled the situation.
Wiretaps also revealed an alleged purchase on March 8, the day a unit in Boston was closed because of a norovirus outbreak.
Authorities say wiretaps revealed 13 instances where Crumpacker placed a delivery order for cocaine. The last instance was June 18, according to prosecutors.
The marketing specialist was one of 18 people who were indicted last Thursday as customers of a three-person drug ring that operated out of Manhattan’s Lower East Side.