53 charged in probe of violent NYC drug crews

(AP) - Federal prosecutors charged 53 people onWednesday with running open-air drug markets at two housingprojects near Yankee Stadium.

Among the drugs for sale: Heroin with the brand name "AmericanGangster" - an apparent reference to the 2007 film starring DenzelWashington as a Harlem drug lord.

Early morning raids on Wednesday resulted 37 arrests and seizureof cash, guns and stockpiles of heroin and crack cocaine. Thetakedown followed a yearlong investigation of violent drug crews bythe New York Police Department, Drug Enforcement Administration andthe Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

"As grounds crews were preparing Yankee Stadium for Game Six ofthe World Series, (federal agents and police officers) were doingtheir own house cleaning, so to speak," Police CommissionerRaymond Kelly said at a news conference.

The other defendants were either already in custody or still atlarge, authorities said.

Authorities began the investigation after seeing a spike inshootings - at least six fatal - in and around the Melrose Housesand the adjacent Jackson Houses in the South Bronx. About 5,000people live in the projects about seven blocks east of YankeeStadium.

During the probe, undercover officers made dozens of purchaseson the street of crack and heroin, authorities said. The heroincame in $10 bags stamped with brand names including "Magic" and"Poison."

If convicted of conspiracy to distribute drugs, several of thedefendants would face a maximum term of life in prison.

sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Time Warner® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 5 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Time Warner® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login, create an account or subscribe to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to news12.com while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."