21 busted in major west Bronx narcotics crackdown

Police confiscated bricks of drugs and bags ready for distribution. This included heroin and cocaine.
Photo courtesy of Bronx DA’s office

Cops took down a major drug ring that was distributing illegal narcotics throughout the borough and beyond they said.

Police arrested 21 people in a massive takedown on Wednesday, December 20 in the 46th Precinct and elsewhere.

The arrests netted ten kilograms of heroin that was packaged both in bricks and thousands of small plastic bags, as well as cocaine and crack-cocaine and $20,000.

According to the NYPD, members of the crew who have been indicted sold the drugs along West Burnside Avenue as well as locations as far away as New Jersey, Connecticut and upstate New York.

A source told the Bronx Times that the many of the arrests occurred on or near Tiebout Avenue, not far from the 46th Precinct stationhouse at 2120 Ryer Avenue.

Two of the alleged drug suppliers, Joan Velez and Mario Martinez, were charged with Operating as a Drug Trafficker, which carries a maximum sentence of 25 years to life if convicted.

The other alleged associates of the syndicate are charged with various counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance, conspiracy, criminal possession of a controlled substance and related charges, according to District Attorney Darcel Clark’s office.

Clark said that law enforcement agencies on the case, including the NYPD and the federal Homeland Security agency, would go wherever an investigation leads to make the borough safe.

“Through the efforts of a year-long investigation, we have dismantled a major drug organization and charged the defendants with over 100 counts of various serious charges,” said Clark.

Clark thanked the NYPD Bronx Gang Squad, Homeland Security Investigations Violent Gang Unit, Connecticut’s state police and department of probation and the 48th Precinct for their help in the yearlong case, which included wiretaps.

Within the communities where the drug gang operated, drug activity has actually been reduced in recent years, and groups like the 46th Precinct Community Council have helped sponsor efforts aimed at stopping drug abuse, said Carmen Figueroa, a council member.

“My main (community) concern is the drug activity that takes place,” she said. “We have come down a lot in drug activity but it is still there.”

She believes that generally speaking illegal narcotics open the door for other crimes because people need to steal and rob to get money to support their habits.

She said that she was surprised to hear about the arrests, which occurred near where some of her friends lived.

“To me it was great,” said Figueroa. “I don’t know how they got to it, but they did it.”

In addition to Martinez and Velez, others from the Bronx who were charged as a result of the investigation are: Ramon Bonilla, Leo Bonilla, Francisco Brito, Michael Collins, Yessenia Castro, Stephen Carrasco, Desjohn Curry, Michael Gallardo, Emmanuel Gomez, David Hemphill, Mario Martinez, Randy Minaya, Luis Raposo, Miguel Robles, Alexis Sanchez, Franky Skinner and Joan Velez.

Reach Reporter Patrick Rocchio at (718) 260–4597. E-mail him at procchio@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @patrickfrocchio.
Photo courtesy of Bronx DA’s office

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