NEW YORK (AP) — The Chipotle marketing executive leading the chain's efforts to rebound after an E. coli outbreak turned himself in Tuesday to face cocaine-possession charges, his lawyer said.
New York Police Department Sgt. Lee Jones said Mark Crumpacker was arrested at 9 a.m. Tuesday on seven counts of possession of a controlled substance. Crumpacker, 53, is one of Chipotle's top executives.
Chipotle had said late Thursday it placed Crumpacker on administrative leave following a New York Daily News report that he was among 18 customers of a cocaine ring named in an indictment by the Manhattan District Attorney's Office. The company said Crumpacker's responsibilities have been assigned to other senior managers.
"We made this decision in order to remain focused on the operation of our business, and to allow Mark to focus on these personal matters," Chipotle said in its statement.
Crumpacker did not respond to a message left on his cellphone. Gerald Lefcourt, his attorney, said Crumpacker was not in New York over the weekend and voluntarily turned himself in Tuesday morning. He was released on $4,500 cash bail and his next court date is Sept. 8, Lefcourt said.
According to the indictment, Crumpacker bought cocaine on multiple dates between Jan. 29 and May 14. During that time, Chipotle was trying to manage the fallout from an E. coli outbreak that had come to light this past fall, as well as other subsequent food scares.
One of the alleged cocaine purchases came on the same day Chipotle temporarily closed a store in Massachusetts amid concerns that some employees had norovirus.
Crumpacker, who heads marketing as Chipotle's chief creative and development officer, was given a pay package worth $4.3 million last year, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. is trying several plans to win back customers and recover from the food scares drove sales at established locations down 30 percent in the first quarter of the year. The efforts so far have included coupons for free burritos, a summertime loyalty program, and plans to introduce chorizo as a topping in restaurants nationally.