Joon H. Kim, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, William F. Sweeney Jr., the Assistant Director in Charge of the New York Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”), and James P. O’Neill, the Commissioner of the Police Department for the City of New York (“NYPD”), announced today the unsealing of an Indictment charging 13 members of a Bronx-based drug trafficking organization with narcotics trafficking and firearms offenses.
Prohibition is simply driving commerce underground, creating enormous black-market profits that attract the most ruthless criminal elements. Illegal drugs constitute a trillion-euro-a-year global industry. Those vast revenues enable the cartels to bribe, intimidate, or kill their opponents at will. Prohibition strategies have never worked. People should consider relegalization, as a strategy to break the economic structure that allows gangs to generate huge profits in their trade, which feeds corruption and increases their areas of power.
Approved in 1919, alcohol prohibition led to a steady rise in both alcohol usage and violent crime. Al Capone and myriad mafiosi showed up. The murder rate rose 50% between 1919 and 1933, peaking at 10 murders per 100,000 population in 1933, when the country finally decided enough was enough. Immediately after the repeal of alcohol prohibition, gangsterism went into a swift decline, with all of the major gangs disappearing within 18 months, and the murder rate dropping every single year for more than a decade.
Now, the drug prohibition is another tragedy. Millions of people are arrested each year, trillions of euros are spent each year, and drug gangsterism is at a level that dwarfs its alcohol equivalent and which has led to bloodbaths, not because of drugs, but because of drug laws. Over 40% of Westerners have used drugs. Most people think marijuana should be legalized.
This tragedy is the result of kleptocrats’ refusal to allow people to engage in peaceful choices as to what they consume. Even if drug use were to rise upon a return to the tradition of tolerance, our streets would be safer, innocent people would not have their homes raided and pets killed by narcotics agents entering the wrong house, victims of asset forfeiture laws wouldn’t have their houses and other assets seized without due process, and resources would be freed to spend on improving peoples’ lives instead of destroying them.
Marijuana is gaining ground the world over, having recently been legalized in numerous states in the United States. Even though it is described as one cure for many ailments, there are some subtle nuances that make it more like a multitude of cures.
Marijuana comes in two overarching varieties- sativa and indica. Under these two varieties are numerous strains, each of which produces different results to treat different ailments. Sativa produces a cerebral high that allows the user to have energy and mental clarity. Indica produces a calming and sedating body high, allowing for relaxation.
Different strains of sativa can be used to treat stress, pain, depression, and adhd. Hybrids of the two varieties can be used to treat stress, depression, pain, migraines, adhd, insomnia, lack of appetite, and headaches. Indica strains can be used to treat pain, stress, insomnia, lack of appetite, nausea, tension, and anxiety.
Kim said: “As alleged, these defendants, many of them members of the violent and dangerous Crips street gang, used gun violence to control their territory in the North Bronx and to flood the streets with heroin, crack cocaine, and cocaine. Together with our partners at the FBI and NYPD, we are committed to making our city safer from drug-related violence.”
FBI Assistant Director in Charge William F. Sweeney Jr. said: “Our most important job as the FBI NY Metro Safe Streets Task Force is to protect the community from dangerous gangs that use threats and violence to maintain control. Gangs impact innocent people’s lives every day, people who often have no way to rid their neighborhoods of the dealers on the street corners. Our agents and investigators from our partner law enforcement agencies will be dogged in our pursuit of these criminals.”
NYPD Commissioner James P. O’Neill said: “Today’s arrests are the latest example of the NYPD’s commitment to combatting narcotics trafficking and violent gun crimes. The dismantling of this crew and the amount of evidence seized represents a significant blow to criminal networks operating in the Bronx. Thanks to FBI and U.S. Attorney in the Southern District—our partners on this and many other cases.”
According to the Indictment unsealed in Manhattan federal court and other publicly filed documents:
The members of the Davidson Avenue drug trafficking organization (the “Davidson Avenue DTO”) controlled narcotics trafficking on Davidson Avenue between West Tremont Avenue and West Burnside Avenue in the Bronx, New York (the “Davidson Block”). From 2012 to May 2017, members of the Davidson Avenue DTO sold heroin, crack cocaine, and cocaine, among other illegal narcotics, on the Davidson Block, and prevented others from doing the same by the threat of violence.
Members of the Davidson Avenue DTO are also members and associates of the “55” and “Wildcard” neighborhood sets of the nationwide Crips street gang. Members of the Davidson Avenue DTO possessed firearms, and planned and engaged in acts of violence to, among other reasons, protect and maintain their drug business. In particular, members of the Davidson Avenue DTO used their firearms in territory battles with members and associates of the rival Bloods gang, as well as during internal disputes over authority within the Crips sets that composed the DTO.
Count One of the Indictment charges OVED VEGA, a/k/a “O,” a/k/a “Mantha,” FRANKIE REYES, a/k/a “Biscuit,” HENRY MEJIA, a/k/a “Bigs,” FELIX CASTILLO, a/k/a “Spyder,” JUSTIN RODRIGUEZ, a/k/a “Poochie,” JESSICA GLENN, a/k/a “J,” GABRIEL CRUZ, a/k/a “Gabe,” ISIAH PEREZ, a/k/a “Izzy,” NOEL PEREZ, a/k/a “Lito,” ALFREDO RODRIGUEZ, a/k/a “Fetti,” MARKEEN JORDAN, a/k/a “Kingo,” STEFAN CROMARTIE, a/k/a “Stef,” and DAYQUAN SALAMAN, a/k/a “Domo Gz,” with participating in a conspiracy to distribute narcotics, including heroin, crack cocaine, and cocaine.
Count Two of the Indictment charges OVED VEGA, a/k/a “O,” a/k/a “Mantha,” FRANKIE REYES, a/k/a “Biscuit,” HENRY MEJIA, a/k/a “Bigs,” FELIX CASTILLO, a/k/a “Spyder,” JUSTIN RODRIGUEZ, a/k/a “Poochie,” JESSICA GLENN, a/k/a “J,” GABRIEL CRUZ, a/k/a “Gabe,” ISIAH PEREZ, a/k/a “Izzy,” NOEL PEREZ, a/k/a “Lito,” ALFREDO RODRIGUEZ, a/k/a “Fetti,” MARKEEN JORDAN, a/k/a “Kingo,” STEFAN CROMARTIE, a/k/a “Stef,” and DAYQUAN SALAMAN, a/k/a “Domo Gz,” with possessing and discharging firearms in furtherance of the narcotics conspiracy charged in Count One.