02/07/2018 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 02/09/2018 08:31
Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, James P. O'Neill, the Commissioner of the Police Department for the City of New York ('NYPD'), Angel M. Melendez, the Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York Field Office of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations ('HSI'), Ashan M. Benedict, the Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York Field Division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives ('ATF'), and James J. Hunt, the Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York Field Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration ('DEA'), announced charges today against 25 members and associates of the 'Hooly Gang,' a crew operating primarily in the vicinity of Fox Street and Leggett Avenue in the Bronx, New York. The defendants are charged with narcotics conspiracy in Superseding Indictment S1 17 Cr. 449 (KPF).
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said: 'The defendants are charged with narcotics conspiracy. What they allegedly did was annex a residential neighborhood, including two playgrounds, and make it a virtual open-air bazaar for dangerous and potentially lethal drugs. We commend our partners at the NYPD, HSI, ATF, and DEA for working together to restore our neighborhoods to the law-abiding people who deserve to live without fear of gangs and the violence they often bring.'
NYPD Commissioner James P. O'Neill said: 'As alleged, the defendants in this case plied their poison, including heroin and oxycodone, across two Bronx playgrounds, endangering the lives of many in the neighborhood. Our focus on crime-and violence-is unwavering. And it is exhibited clearly in today's action. I am thankful for the efforts of detectives, agents, and prosecutors whose work resulted in the arrest of dozens this morning and the unsealing of this superseding indictment.'
HSI Special Agent-in-Charge Angel M. Melendez said: 'The individuals arrested during this operation are alleged to sell crack and heroin around playgrounds. They have a clear disregard for law enforcement and clearly no regard for the communities in which they live. HSI and its law enforcement partners will continue to arrest and remove gang members, like those today, off our city streets.'
ATF Special-Agent-in-Charge Ashan M. Benedict said: 'The Hooly Gang and its members, as alleged, turned playgrounds into open air drug markets where narcotics were more common than the sights and sounds of children laughing and playing. Thank you to all of the federal, state and local partners that helped create a force multiplier effect to help rid the streets of violent narcotics traffickers thus sending a message to the community that the rule of law runs the streets. I would like to extend my gratitude to the United States Attorney's Office for their work in prosecuting the case.'
DEA Special Agent-in-Charge James J. Hunt said: 'Allegedly, the Hooly Gang was a feared drug supplier in the Longwood section of the Bronx. Their products - ranging from crack, heroin, marijuana, and oxycodone - invited gang wars into the surrounding communities and enabled drug addiction. This unique law enforcement partnership, targeting gang violence in our city, led to today's arrests.'
According to the Superseding Indictment unsealed today in Manhattan federal court and other publicly filed documents:
The Superseding Indictment arises from a joint investigation, beginning in 2017, by the NYPD, HSI, DEA, and ATF into a crew operating in the vicinity of Fox Street and Leggett Avenue in the Bronx called the 'Hooly Gang.' Members and associates of the Hooly Gang operated an open-air drug market in this residential neighborhood - including within and around two playgrounds - and sold, among other things, crack, heroin, oxycodone, and marijuana. In order to protect its drug turf and advance its aims, members and associates of the Hooly Gang also committed acts of violence, including shootings.
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Defendants arrested in New York yesterday and early this morning will be presented later this afternoon in Manhattan federal court. Defendant MELVIN ALSTON is presently in custody on state charges and will be transferred to federal custody. Defendants ANTHONY RODRIGUEZ, a/k/a 'Ant,' ROBERTO JORGE, and GIOVANNI TORRES are already in federal custody on related charges.
Each defendant is charged with one count of narcotics conspiracy, which carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. The statutory maximum penalties are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencings of the defendants would be determined by the judge.
The case is assigned to U.S. District Judge Katherine Polk Failla.
Mr. Berman praised the outstanding investigative work of the NYPD's Bronx Gang Squad, HSI's Violent Gang Unit, ATF's Joint Firearms Task Force, and the New York Field Division of the DEA, as well as the United States Marshals' Service and the New York State Division of Parole for their assistance in today's arrests. He also thanked the Bronx County District Attorney's Office and the New York City Department of Investigation for their support in the investigation of this matter.
The Office's Violent and Organized Crime Unit is overseeing the case. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Rachel Maimin, Jessica Feinstein, and Danielle Sassoon are in charge of the prosecution.
The charges contained in the Superseding Indictment are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
 As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Superseding Indictment and the descriptions of the Superseding Indictment set forth below constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.