A federal take down of a major drug gang that held sway over two Allerton housing complexes has residents cautiously breathing a sigh of relief.
Prosecutors charged two dozen gang members in the drug dealing network on July 25 for selling drugs at the Allerton Avenue Coops and the Parkside Houses.
The latest roundup brings the total number of suspects to 55 in the ongoing federal investigation into the drug network.
“We are far from finished,” said Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.
All the suspects, ranging from young to middle age, face up to life in prison if convicted on charges including conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine.
Prosecutors charge that between 2006 and last year, dealers sold major amounts of crack cocaine to undercover NYPD cops at the two developments and the surrounding neighborhood.
Gang memberrs were also charged with using guns and threatening neighbors they believed may have told police about their dealings.
“These criminals were responsible for a lot of serious crimes in the precinct,” said Capt. Lorenzo (Andy) Johnson of the 49th Precinct.
But even with several members taken off the streets for now, residents are still looking over their shoulders, thanks to years of intimidation by thugs.
Many were too afraid to give their names to a reporter for fear of reprisal from other members still free on the streets.
Authorities said six of the 25 indicted gang members were still on the run as of Tuesday.
Some neighbors at the two complexes simply walked away when approached with questions about the gang.
Still, Parkside resident Joe Leon said he still felt unsafe.
“You don’t want to come out here at night,” he said.
Longtime Parkside Houses resident Steve Govan was relieved to hear feds had rounded up the latest batch of members.
“Find any more and lock them up!” he said.
Elmira Besimobska, a woman who visits her boyfriend at Parkside, said she despised the gangs that milled about the building - “They should be in jail forever!”
Another resident. asking to remain anonymous, said he’s finished with living in the projects - “I’m trying to move out.”
One Coops resident only using his nickname “Jay Boy” agreed.
“They need to clean up the area,” he declared.David Cruz can be reach via e-mail at DCruz@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3383
©2012 Community News Group