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The NYPD raided an illegal open-air “flea market” operating in Squad member Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s district earlier this week, confiscating counterfeit goods and other items.

But some sellers have thumbed their noses at law enforcement and are back on the streets peddling their merchandise.

The sellers, many of whom are reported to be migrants, have been blocking sidewalks in the Queens neighborhoods of Jackson Heights, Corona and Elmhurst, shilling various items such as second-hand goods and clothes. 

Local residents say the neighborhood looks like a Third World country due to its shabby-looking and unsanitary-like conditions. Prostitution is also rampant in the area, with some nicknaming the neighborhood’s main strip along Roosevelt Avenue as the “avenue of the sweethearts.”



Toys and clothes were sold on sidewalks in squad member Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s district earlier this week. (Ramses Frías)

Video obtained by Fox News Digital last month shows an endless stream of vendors with piles of clothes stacked along the streets of Roosevelt Avenue and 91st Street, while others sell sneakers, pots and pans, toys and photo frames. It’s not all family-friendly merchandise: Prostitutes are also known to frequent the area.

In another video shot last Saturday, more illegal vendors could be seen lined up next to each other along a 1,000-foot stretch just a few blocks away on Junction Boulevard.

But on Monday and Tuesday, police were seen raiding the now notorious hotspot along Roosevelt Avenue near 91st Street and loading the goods into the back of an NYPD truck. The sanitation department and other agencies also took part in the raid, police say.

“Now you see it… now you don’t,” NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Operations Kaz Daughtry wrote on X Tuesday. “This ‘flea market’ has been at the center of many quality-of-life complaints in Jackson Heights. We conducted an operation yesterday in response to these community concerns… we addressed the unlicensed peddlers, selling counterfeit goods on the streets of Queens!”

Police also posted a photo of dozens of large see-through trash bags filled with phone covers and other accessories from inside the local precinct. The New York Post reports that at least one vendor on the sidewalk had been selling power tools bearing tags from a nearby Home Depot.

In video shot on Tuesday by state Assembly candidate Ramses Frías, a former Democrat turned Republican, illegal vendors could be seen back on the streets flouting the law and pushing their goods.

Frías says it proved that the raid was short-lived and warned that conditions will only get worse once the weather heats up. 

“If there isn’t a consistent police presence and/or team set in place to educate these illegal vendors then this will all continue,” Frías, who has lived in the area his whole life, tells Fox News Digital. 


Goods confiscated by the NYPD from illegal vendors

Goods confiscated by the NYPD from illegal vendors (NYPD)

“The constant neglect from the actual representatives of this area like Ocasio-Cortez, Assembly Members Jessica Gonzalez-Rojas and Catalina Cruz and the rest have angered and frustrated the residents here in these communities. We are done with the mess being brought about by prostitution, open-air illegal markets and crime,” he adds. “Things are spiraling out of control and the lawlessness must come to an end.”

The raid took place on the edge of Ocasio-Cortez’s 14th Congressional District. The long strip along Junction Boulevard is also part of the progressive congresswoman’s district.

The area is mostly represented by progressive politicians, including Congresswoman Grace Meng, Assembly Members Cruz, González-Rojas, Steve Raga and Council Member Shekar Krishnan. State Senators Michael Gianaris and Jesscia Ramos, both Democrats, also represent the district.

Democrat Council Member Moya also represents the district and has been a vocal opponent of illegal vendors and prostitution and in the neighborhood, often at odds with his fellow party colleagues. 

The NYPD raid was carried out in conjunction with Moya, who also teamed up with the mayor in January to raid several brothels in the neighborhood. Neither of the raids resulted in arrests, police say.

“The number one complaint to my office is the congestion and garbage caused by illegal street vendors,” Moya wrote on Instagram following Sunday’s crackdown. “Mothers can’t push their strollers through our sidewalks, businesses are being robbed and undercut steps from their doors and residents are being put at risk from unsafe food handling. Enough is enough.”


Alleged prostitutes operating in broad daylight in Queens — Squad member Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s district. (Ramses Frías)

Meanwhile, following the police sweep, New York City Mayor Eric Adams pinned the blame on illegal immigrants not being able to work. He has often said migrants have a “right to work” in the U.S. and not allowing them to do so is “anti-American.”


“Some of the problems we’re facing in our city, this is the byproduct of bringing thousands of people to a city and telling them they cannot work… this is what we’re seeing,” Adams said Monday, according to Fox 5 New York. “Some of the illegal shops, sex trafficking that is taking place, all of this is a by-product. … I keep telling folks, you have 3,000 people on Randall’s Island [migrant facility] that cannot do anything all day. That’s just not right.”

A spokesperson for Ocasio-Cortez did not respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment. 


Shoes being sold illegally outside an opticians Queens (Ramses Frías)

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