NYPD, FBI Bust East Harlem Gang Ring
The FBI teamed up with NYPD to arrest more than 30 gang members involved in major drug operations in East Harlem’s public housing complexes.
Dressed in body armor and armed with assault rifles, cops and agents swarmed the three housing projects in pre-dawn raids Tuesday, and proceeded to kick in apartment doors of the suspected gang members.
The raid busted a massive drug operation, where cocaine, crack, heroin, marijuana and prescription pills like oxycodone were sold unfettered in the projects and surrounding streets, said Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara while announcing the indictments.
“This morning is a very good morning,” NYPD Chief of Department James O’Neill said. “We were able to take 32 very bad people off the street. This is going to make East Harlem a lot safer.”
The raids were the result of a four-year investigation by cops and federal authorities into the drug trade at Washington Houses on Second Ave. and E. 102nd St., the Metro North Plaza Houses on E. 101st St. near First Ave., and the Lexington Houses on Lexington Ave. and E. 99th St.
After NYPD Det. Randolph Holder was fatally shot on Oct. 20, the investigation quickened. Holder became ensnared in a chase and gunfight after responding to a call of shots fired near the Washington Houses. Holder was eventually killed by 31-year-old Tyrone Howard.
NYPD chief O’Neil said some of the gang members who were involved in that incident were arrested Tuesday, and Howard is facing murder charges.
“For far too long, NYCHA residents have had to live with drug dealing and violence as part of their everyday lives,” U.S. attorney Bharara said.
The cops and agents also took members of the Broad Day Shooters gang into custody, including Antonio Reyes, the gang’s leader who goes by the street name “El Capo.”
Reyes ran the drug trade of his gang, and organized the round-the-clock enterprise, according to court papers. When a seller was low on drugs, Reyes and high ranking gang member Hasoan Alto, whose street name is “Hass,” would connect customers with other sellers in their organization, officials said.
The drug operation’s leaders were raking it in, boasting that February was a “lucrative” month and “the future would bring even more success,” according to investigators who overheard the conversations.
This group also led at least one robbery and assault in which a man was beaten unconscious, officials said.
Agents took no risk in carrying out the Tuesday raids, arriving in a massive convoy of heavily fortified NYPD trucks that fanned out across East Harlem. Drugs and weapons were seized, and two people charged with illegal gun possession.
“If you’re going to bring the street violence, we’re coming for you,” a police source said. “We’re sending a message.”
Posted in The Takedown