A total of 18 people have been arrested following nearly two years of investigation into alleged gang activities, according to local and state sources. Half of those arrested on gun and drug charges in Queens are reported to be members of two notorious New York City gangs, including the 97th Street Trinitarios and #Hot97Boyz, according to the District Attorney’s Office. All 18 people are currently awaiting arraignment in Queens Criminal Court, where they will each be individually represented by a criminal defense attorney.
Police say their bust was the result of 20 months of investigation code named “Operation Gang Green” into the activities of two rival gangs in Queens and the surrounding area. On the morning of May 23, police say they stormed known gang locations for both gangs, recovering what they said included $80,000 in cash, a machete and eight vehicles they believe were used to transport heroin and cocaine. It is unknown whether any actual drugs were recovered in the raid.
Representatives for police say the two gangs, and those arrested in the sting, are responsible for selling and trafficking heavy narcotics through the New York borough, including crack cocaine, heroin and fentanyl. Police say they believe the gangs are directly responsible for several overdoses. Officers say they employed wiretapping as well as undercover officers who made multiple drug and weapon purchases from the arrested individuals.
If these individuals are found guilty, they could face decades in prison for charges ranging from possession to trafficking. Given the involvement of ICE Homeland Security Investigations, some may even face deportation. This is why the American system places the burden of proof on New York prosecutors to prove beyond a reasonable doubt the guilt of the arrested individuals. Sting operations this large have a lot of moving parts, however, and it will be possible for each individual’s criminal defense representation to review the facts of the case, including information on wiretapping and undercover operations, in order to assess whether the investigations were conducted in accordance with the rights of each accused person.
Source: Jackson Heights, NY Patch, “18 Arrested For Drugs, Guns In Jackson Heights Gang Bust“, Danielle Woodward, May 24, 2018