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Press Release | NO. 2005-022

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Press Release # 022
Wednesday, April 6, 2005

New York City Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly Announces 15 Arrests In The Takedown Of A Drug Dealing Organization Operating In And Around Two Housing Developments In Upper Manhattan

New York City Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly today announced the arrest of 15 individuals as part of "Operation Tombstone." This investigation focused on a faction of the CRIPS street gang * know as the
M-SET (Money Comes First) * who controlled the drug trade in and around the General Grant and the Manhattanville housing developments in upper Manhattan. The arrests were made by officers from the Manhattan Gang Squad with assistance from Police Service Area 6 as well as members from patrol and the detective squad from the 26th Precinct.

Police Commissioner Kelly said: "We are determined to ensure the safety and well-being of public housing residents as well as all New Yorkers. Recently, we have targeted and arrested drug-dealing groups operating in public housing in the Bronx and Queens, and now Manhattan. The New York City Police Department remains deeply committed to this tenet and I thank all the officers involved for their exceptional work."

The arrested gang members include a boss, managers and street level dealers. The group sold crack cocaine and marijuana in amounts costing as little as ten dollars to single purchases of several hundred dollars. The sales transpired primarily in the developments' courtyards and stairwells.

Operation Tombstone spawned from the Gang Squad's investigation into four separate and nonfatal shootings in the vicinity of the General Grant Houses. The first shooting occurred on May 22, 2004 and that was followed by shootings on June 19th, August 15th and September 8th. As the Gang Squad linked the violent incidents, it became clear that these shooting stemmed from the M-SET's goal of dominating the local drug trade and driving out independent dealers.

Three search warrants were executed as part of this takedown. Each warrant focused on a particular apartment in the General Grant Houses. As a result, officers recovered bags of cocaine, multiple vials of crack and several hundred dollars.

This investigation is ongoing and more arrests are expected.

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