Chipotle executive arrested, charged with drug possession

NEW YORK (AP) — The Chipotle marketing executive leading the chain’s efforts to rebound after an E. coli outbreak was arrested Tuesday on seven counts of cocaine possession.

NYPD Sergeant 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 said late Thursday it had 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 his 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 return a message left on his cellphone. It was unclear if he has an attorney who might speak on his behalf.

Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. is trying to bounce back after the E. coli outbreak and other food scares last year. In the first quarter of the year, sales were down 30 percent at established locations. The efforts to win back customers have so far included coupons for free burritos, a summertime loyalty program, and plans to introduce chorizo as a topping in restaurants nationally.

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.

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