NYPD Busts Unauthorized Migrant Shelter — 74 Migrants Found Sleeping in Basement

Police patrol in Times Square on February 06, 2024 in New York City. Seven migrants were a
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Dozens of military-aged illegal aliens were discovered sleeping in a Queens basement by city investigators who had entered the building on another matter.

The basement being used as an illegal migrant shelter was so cramped, the migrants — who were mostly from Senegal — reportedly had to sleep in shifts so that they all could get some rest, the New York Post reported.

The basement dwelling was discovered when investigators from the New York Fire Department (FDNY) entered a Queens furniture store at 132-02 Liberty Avenue in South Richmond Hill after being called because a witness had seen a large number of e-bike batteries being improperly stored on the premises.

The FDNY called city officials in after finding a large number of illegal immigrants in the store’s basement.

After an investigation, the NYPD and the city’s building department determined that 74 or more migrants were living in the store’s basement.

“A further probe revealed that up to 80 individuals have been living there, taking turns to sleep due to the limited space available,” the FDNY said in a statement.

Police officers and members of the city Department of Buildings discovered 14 bunk beds on the building’s first floor and an additional 13 bunk beds in the basement space, which had no ventilation, too few exits, no natural light, and illegal plumbing.

Upon questioning, the store’s owner, Ebou Sarr, 47, admitted he was charging the illegal aliens $300 a month for a bed. But he also claimed that the the $300 charge was a “donation” and that he often took only what the migrants could afford.

Sarr, also a native of Senegal, characterized his illegal shelter as a charity effort, saying, “They don’t even have relatives here, nowhere to go, sleeping on the trains and the streets. So we have to intervene.”

“I am helping the guys,” Sarr added. “I’m giving them somewhere to stay. Some of the guys who heard about me, they weren’t even going to the shelter. They were coming straight to me.”

Malick Ndiaye, one of the migrants staying at the store, praised Sarr.

“Here you don’t have problems,” Ndiaye said. “In the shelter, every month you have to go back to Manhattan … and they send you to another place. This takes time – 10 days, 20 days.”

Sarr also claimed he was unaware that he needed city permits to operate a flop house.

However, Sarr was also busted for an illegal flop house in January, the Post said in a separate report.

The NYPD also encountered Sarr during an investigation into an illegal shelter situated inside the chained-up Old Fordham Library in the Bronx.

Sarr told police he was running that shelter too.

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