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Press Release | NO. 2002-152

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Press Release # 152
Thursday, December 19, 2002

New York City Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly And Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget G. Brennan Announce The Takedown Of Six Drug Gangs And 29 Narcotics Arrests As Part Of "Operation Uproot" In The Bronx

New York Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly and Special Narcotics Prosecutor Bridget G. Brennan today announced that the Narcotics Borough Bronx has arrested 29 people in connection with six drug gangs in and around the University Heights neighborhood of the Bronx. Today's arrests mark the culmination of "Operation Uproot," an intense six-month undercover investigation to target street-level and upper management narcotics dealers in an effort to dismantle entrenched drug organizations.

"These criminals are particularly violent, and many of them have extensive criminal records. By taking down these six drug rings, we will make this neighborhood a much safer place to live," said Commissioner Kelly. "Our war against illegal narcotics is unrelenting. We will continue to find the criminals who smuggle drugs into our city, from the high-level dealers to the street peddlers. We will find them and bring them to justice."

As part of "Operation Uproot," which began in July 2002, eight undercover detectives made more than 285 felony-level drug purchases, including: 728 glassines of heroin; 392 bags and 14 tins of crack; and, 142 bags and 56 tins of cocaine. The heroin they purchased had brand names such as "Dirty Urine," "Devil's Choice 666," and "White House." In addition, officers purchased two 9-mm firearms. During the investigation, police identified six drug organizations, which co-existed with no known gang-to-gang violence.

Many of those arrested have extensive criminal backgrounds. In fact, Paul Vogelsang, a dealer for the "Grand Avenue Gang," has 10 prior arrests, including attempted murder of a police officer, robbery,
assault, and burglary. He served eight years in prison, and was arrested today while on parole.

More than 20% of the total crimes in the entire 46 Precinct take place within the small University Heights area where these drug gangs operated, By putting 29 violent, drug-dealing criminals behind bars, this area will become a much safer place to live.

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