One hundred and twenty suspected members of two violent rival gangs were arrested Wednesday morning in what is being called the largest takedown of gangs in city history. The suspects, who have knicknames like MadDog, Murder and Guns allegedly wreaked havoc across the north Bronx for years. Roger Clark has the story.
They were rustled from their homes across the North Bronx before dawn, scores of alleged gang members arrested and hauled into court.
"We have charged 120 defendants in two rival Bronx Street gangs, with racketeering, narcotics and firearms offenses," said Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York.
Nearly 700 local and federal law enforcement officers took part in the raids, targeting two gangs that allegedly terrorized the area and fought a bloody turf war for years — 2Fly, affiliated with the national Young Gunnaz gang — allegedly operated around the Eastchester Gardens NYCHA complex, and along Gun Hill Road.
The other known as BMB — Big Money Bosses, or Money Making Mafia — operated along White Plains Road from 215th to 233rd Streets and openly sold drugs on 224th Street.
"These gangs by the way didn't distinguish between rival gang members and law abiding members of the community," the federal prosecutor said. "If you were in the wrong place at the wrong time, you could be shot, stabbed, even killed."
Officials say the gangs are connected to eight murders, including that of Sadie Mitchell, a beloved 92-year-old killed in her living room by a stray bullet in 2009, and a 15-year-old stabbed to death.
"These gangs operate in an area where on an average there is at least one shooting reported on a daily basis for the past five years," said Special Agent-In-Charge Angel Melendez, with Homeland Security Investigations
"This takedown will go a very long way toward ending, the historical violence that's been carried out in the midst of NYCHA residents, and also spilled out into the streets of Laconia, Wakefield and Williamsbridge," said Police Commissioner Bill Bratton.
The brazen gangs allegedly used social media to promote and grow their ranks, even posting YouTube videos to brag about their crimes, assisting investigators in their evidence gathering.
All of the law enforcement officials involved in this operation attributed its success to the collaborative effort between the agencies. As the special agent in charge for the Homeland Security Investigations said, this was a really good day for law enforcement, a really bad day for gang members.