Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, James J. Hunt, the Special Agent in Charge of the New York Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”), Angel M. Melendez, the Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (“HSI”), 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 21 members of a Bronx-based drug trafficking organization with narcotics trafficking and firearms offenses. The organization operates in the vicinity of the Diego Beekman Houses (“Beekman Houses”) in the South Bronx and is charged in two separate indictments – United States v. Demetrius Flowers et al. and United States v. Damon Guadalupe et al. Some of the members of the organization were affiliated with a subset of the Bloods Street Gang, known as the “Low Rider Brims,” and other members were affiliated with a gang known as the “Young Shooters.” Of the 21 defendants charged in both Indictments, 14 are currently in custody, including 12 defendants who were arrested earlier today and yesterday as part of a coordinated takedown. The defendants already in custody will be presented today before United States Magistrate Ronald L. Ellis in Manhattan federal court.
In connection with today’s takedown, law enforcement agents also executed search warrants at three locations, including residential apartments in the area occupied by several of the defendants. During the execution of those search warrants, agents recovered, among other items, crack, cocaine, marijuana, as well as ammunition and gang paperwork. To date, in this case, agents and officers have seized, among other evidence, quantities of crack, cocaine, heroin, marijuana, prescription pills, as well as firearms, ammunition, and knives. During the investigation, agents and officers also intercepted thousands of wiretapped calls, during many of which various members and associates of the drug trafficking organization discussed their gang and narcotics activities.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “As alleged, these defendants, many of them members of street gangs, terrorized a South Bronx neighborhood with their drug dealing and violence. Law enforcement has no duty more important than keeping our citizens safe. As we have done in a number of recent takedowns with our law enforcement partners, we will continue to focus on those in our communities who are allegedly responsible for so much of the gang and gun violence. All New Yorkers are entitled to live in neighborhoods free from constant drug-dealing and senseless violence. That is why we bring actions like the one we bring today.”
“This investigation is the latest example of a coordinated effort to combat drug trafficking, whose operations brought an influx of violence and firearms to the Bronx,” said Police Commissioner Bratton. I commend both our NYPD detectives and law enforcement partners for their hard work, which led to these arrests, and for their ongoing commitment to protect our neighborhoods.”
DEA Special Agent-in-Charge James J. Hunt said: “Law enforcement’s crackdown on gang related drug trafficking has netted 14 more arrests in New York City. It is alleged that the ‘Low Rider Brims’ and ‘Young Shooters’ street gangs instilled fear and intimidation in the residents of the Beekman Housing Projects in the Bronx. Not only did their alleged drug trafficking fuel drug addiction, their ‘armed and ready’ attitude resulted in numerous shootings and turf battles jeopardizing the safety of the neighboring schools and community.”
HSI Special Agent-in-Charge Angel M. Melendez said: “Residents of the Mott Haven section of the Bronx can rest easier knowing members of a violent gang are under arrest and out of their neighborhood. These gangs allegedly peddled drugs and used violence to protect their criminal enterprise. HSI and its law enforcement partners are committed to combating violent criminal organizations and ensure the continued safety of our communities.”
As alleged in the Indictments unsealed today in Manhattan federal court and in other court papers:
The Beekman Houses is a private housing complex comprising approximately 38 apartment buildings in the Mott Haven neighborhood of the Bronx, New York. From at least 2010 up to and including May 2016, the defendants operated a drug trafficking organization (the “Beekman Houses DTO”) in and around the Beekman Houses. The Beekman Houses DTO trafficked in a variety of narcotics – including crack cocaine, heroin, and marijuana – on a daily basis. Some of the members of the Beekman Houses DTO were affiliated with a subset of the Bloods Street Gang known as the “Low Rider Brims,” and other members were affiliated with a gang known as the “Young Shooters.” The defendants sold narcotics in areas frequented by New York City’s most vulnerable citizens, including in the vicinity of New York City schools.
In addition, members of the Beekman Houses DTO protected and maintained their drug business through the possession of firearms and acts of violence. These included shootings that happened in broad daylight on public streets and into apartment buildings.