What We Know About the Largest-Ever Gang Bust in New York
Gang members are suspected of having a hand in at least eight murders—as well as terrorizing people with the threat of random violence.
More than 120 people were charged by the feds on Wednesday in the largest gang bust in New York City history. In two indictments handed down by US Attorney Preet Bharara, members of the Northern Bronx's Big Money Bosses and the 2Fly YGz gangs were accused of violence against each other, a third faction known as the Slut Gang, and plenty of innocent victims, including a 92-year-old named Sadie Mitchell who was killed in her own home by a stray bullet in 2009.
In all, the gang members are suspected of having a hand in at least eight murders—as well as terrorizing New Yorkers with the ever-looming threat of random violence.
"Today, we seek to eviscerate two violent street gangs––2Fly and BMB––that have allegedly wreaked havoc on the streets of the Northern Bronx for years, by committing countless acts of violence against rival gang members and innocents alike," Bharara said in a statement. "We bring these charges today so that all New Yorkers, including those in or near NYCHA public housing, can live their lives as they deserve: free of drugs, free of guns, and free of gang violence."
Two years ago, shootings soared in the northernmost stretches of the Bronx. To combat the escalating violence, cops were ordered to begin making regular visits with at least one family on every block in the 47th precinct. At the time, compiling email addresses, phone numbers, and names was said to be a nifty way to address quality of life issues—and not about creating a roster of would-be snitches.
No matter what those contact lists were used for, it's safe to say the feds didn't let the area's gang violence out of their sights. Although Bharara has been referred to as the "Sheriff of Wall Street" for taking on shady bankers in years past, the US attorney has also been behind a handful of big gang takedowns, including one that nabbed 87 people in 2011.
This bust is by far his most ambitious yet, and the indictments suggest prosecutors developed deep knowledge of the gangs and how they operate. For starters, almost all of the 120 people charged are identified by street names like "Money Making Kenny" and "Mark the Gritty Shark."
2Fly YGz is described as a faction of the Young Gunnaz that operated in the Eastchester Gardens housing development. They're accused of stashing guns and drugs in an area playground, as well as stabbing a 15-year-old to death in 2010 and shooting a 17-year-old in 2013. Laquan Parrish (also known as Maddog and Quanzaa), Andre Bent (also known as Dula), and Aaron Rodriguez (also known as Gunz and Cita) were the gang's "Big Guns," and they recruited new members, according to the indictment.
Meanwhile, higher-ups in the Big Money Bosses—a faction of the Young Bosses gang—are described by the feds as fitting into a hierarchy of Big Suits, Burberry Suits, Gucci Suits, Ferragamo Suits, or Sean John Suits. Besides murder, robbery, and drug dealing, the men are accused of bank fraud and counterfeiting US currency.
The bust got under way early Wednesday, reportedly around 2 AM. More than 700 investigators with the NYPD and various federal agencies raided housing projects in the area and began bringing in suspects for processing. Nearly 80 people are set to appear in Manhattan federal court for arraignment.
"Unless you like jail or death, don't do it," Bharara said of gang life Wednesday.
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