Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly, U.S. Attorney
for he Eastern District Rosalynn Mauskopf, Queens District Attorney Richard
Brown, Associate Special Agent in Charge New York Division of the DEA Derek
Maltz and the New York State Police today announced the arrest of 37 individuals
for drug dealing in the Queensbridge public housing development in Long Island
City. The Department is currently looking for 12 additional suspects. The
dealers were unaffiliated small crews or individuals all buying for a single
wholesaler. The retailers sold primarily crack and powdered cocaine.
case began in April 2004 when the 114th Precinct identified the Queensbridge
Houses as the most entrenched drug dealing location in the precinct. The housing
development, with over 3,000 apartments, is the largest in the city. For years,
its residents were subjected to drug dealers and their customers doing business
in the courtyards and individual apartments.
Initially, officers from the
114th Precinct, Queens Narcotics and Public Service Area 9 pooled their
knowledge to develop a complete picture of the drug dealing operation. After
months of undercover buys and surveillance, the "Dream Team" was identified as
the wholesaler and the overarching regulator drug activities in the complex. Any
individual or group could sell in the development as long as they bought their
product from the Dream Team.
In June of 2004, members of the Drug
Enforcement Task Force joined the investigation. The Task Force is made up of
members of the New York City Police Department, the Drug Enforcement
Administration and the New York State Police. The Department of Investigation
also assisted in this case.
The case was given "Weed and Seed,"
designation under a special Federal program that gave investigators additional
resources, including potentially stiffer sanctions. When charged federally,
suspects could face significantly longer prison sentences.
Kelly said, "The 'Dream Team' thought if they operated quietly, they could
operate indefinitely. They were dreaming. The came up against a law enforcement
team, whose members each brought something unique and important to the table.
From knowledge of the housing complex to undercover expertise and prosecutorial
experience, all the bases were covered. I want to thank and congratulate all of
police officers, agents and troopers for their outstanding
United States Attorney Mauskopf stated, "Today's arrests are the
result of a coordinated law enforcement and prosecutorial initiative to rid the
Queensbridge Housing development of a gang of violent drug dealers who held this
community hostage and put our school children at risk. This case clearly
demonstrates the success that can be achieved through federal, state and local
law enforcement cooperation."
District Attorney Brown said, "The
defendants have been charged with selling cocaine and accused of drug dealing in
and near the Queensbridge Houses, a public housing development. The charges are
serious and some defendants upon conviction face sentences of up to 25 years in
prison. Queensbridge is the largest public housing development in the City. It
is home to some 7,000 people who reside in over 3,100 apartments. The residents
of the Queensbridge Houses are entitled to live in an environment free from
drugs and violence."
New York State Police Superintendent Wayne E.
Bennett said, "Through a well coordinated effort of federal, state and New York
City law enforcement, members of a violent drug organization operating in one of
the largest housing developments in the United States have been brought to
justice on a variety of serious drugs and weapons charges. These arrests, using
a combination of federal and state criminal statutes, will keep the worst of
these violent offenders off the street for many years."
Agent in Charge Maltz stated: "I want to advise the public that we in DEA, are
joined with the NYPD and NYSP, and are 100 percent committed to the citizens of
this great city. We will continue
to align our resources with our law
enforcement counterparts in an effort to eradicate major drug trafficking groups
like the organizations that were operating in the Queensbridge community. We
will continue to assist the NYPD and supplement their efforts to protect the NYC
communities and provide a better quality of life."
Among the 37 arrested during this takedown, 17 will face federal charges. The
additional 20 will be prosecuted by the Queens DA.
The investigation is ongoing and more arrests are