Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Diego Rodriguez, the Assistant Director-in-Charge of the New York Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), and William J. Bratton, the Commissioner of the New York City Police Department (“NYPD”), announced the unsealing today of two Indictments charging a total of 36 members of two rival Manhattan-based drug trafficking organizations for narcotics trafficking and firearms offenses (the “Washington Houses Indictment” and the “East River Indictment”). These two drug trafficking organizations operate out of three New York City Housing Authority (“NYCHA”) developments in East Harlem: the President George Washington Houses (the “Washington Houses”), the East River Houses (“East River”), and the Metro North Plaza (“Metro North”).
The Washington Houses Indictment charges 20 members of the Washington Houses Drug Trafficking Organization (“DTO”) in the case of United States v. Hasoan Alto, a/k/a “Hass,” et al., which has been assigned to United States District Judge Victor Marrero. The East River Indictment charges 16 members of the East River DTO in the case of United States v. Charles Kenyatta, a/k/a “Charlie Cee,” et al., which has been assigned to United States District Judge Alison J. Nathan. Of the 36 defendants charged in both the Washington Houses and East River Indictments, 29 are currently in custody, including 26 defendants who were arrested earlier last night and today as part of a coordinated takedown between the FBI and NYPD. The defendants already in custody will be presented today before United States Magistrate Henry B. Pitman.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “For far too long, NYCHA residents have had to live with drug dealing and violence as part of their everyday lives. With the arrests of 36 alleged members of violent drug trafficking groups, we seek to stem the flow of drugs and the cycle of violence plaguing the Washington Houses, East River Houses and Metro North Plaza. As the indictments allege, these defendants trafficked in all types of drugs, including heroin, crack cocaine, oxycodone and marijuana; peddled in all areas in and around the housing projects, including near schools and in city hospitals; and protected their lucrative businesses with guns and violence. Residents of public housing – like all residents of New York City – deserve safe streets, free of drugs and violence. I thank our partners at the FBI and NYPD for their work in this investigation and for their commitment to making our city and our housing projects safer and drug free.”
FBI Assistant Director-in-Charge Diego Rodriguez said: “Today we carried out a coordinated operation to arrest more than 30 members of two drug trafficking organizations who violently carried out their illegal business dealings in the East Harlem area. Getting those who bring guns and drugs in to our neighborhoods, schools, and hospitals is the only way we can get violence off the city streets that affects everyday citizens. The FBI will continue our partnership with the NYPD to investigate and bring those who are part of such criminal organizations to justice.”
“For years the residents of East Harlem have been subjected to the violence and fear associated with the rampant illegal narcotics activity in this area,” Commissioner William J. Bratton said. Today’s arrests with the FBI and prosecution by the office of the US Attorney for the Southern District will undoubtedly result in a safer East Harlem community.”
Read more from the U.S Attorney’s Office [HERE].