More than 100 alleged gang members responsible for prolific violence and drug operations were arrested in what authorities are calling the largest gang takedown in the history of New York City.
U.S. Attorneys said that 120 members of two competing gangs that operated in the Bronx were arrested in raids Wednesday morning after a several-year investigation into street gangs in the borough.
"We bring these charges so that all New Yorkers, including those in public housing, can live their lives as they deserve -- free of drugs, free of guns and free of gang violence," U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said at a news conference announcing charges against the alleged gang members.
Fifty-seven members of the "2Fly" gang, a subset of nationwide "Yung Gunnaz" street gang, operated primarily out of the Eastchester Gardens public housing project and were rounded up in the raid.
Authorities allege members of 2Fly sold cocaine and other drugs and stashed guns at the public housing development’s playground. Members of the gang also carried firearms and committed robbery on their turf, according to a federal indictment.
Donna Fischer, a life-long resident at Eastchester Gardens, said that she finally felt safe to go outside and not have to worry "if a bullet's coming for me today.”
Her message to law enforcement: “Thank you, thank you, thank you.”
Prosecutors allege members of the gang were also responsible for two killings and other acts of violence in the Bronx. The shooting deaths of Alexander Walters, 17, in 2012, and Donville Simpson, 17, in 2013, were allegedly carried out by members of 2Fly.
A rival gang of 2Fly operating in the borough was also at the center of the takedown, authorities said.
Sixty-three alleged members of the "Big Money Bosses" (BMB), which operated primarily on White Plains Road between 215th and 233rd streets, were also jailed, prosecutors said.
Among the three killings allegedly committed by members of the gang was the shooting death of 92-year-old Sadie Mitchell. The elderly woman was killed in her own home on Oct. 20, 2009, by stray bullet allegedly fired by a BMB member.
The indictment shows the gang was also responsible for two other killings and multiple attempted killings, which were connected to a drug-dealing operation.
BMB members targeted rival gang members, including alleged gang members associated with the 2Fly gang.
Armored trucks, helicopters and many uniformed officers were used in the raid.
A man, who was not affiliated with the two gangs, tried to run from police and federal agents and plunged to his death from the fifth floor of a building, authorities said.
The man had been wanted on an outstanding warrant for crimes not associated with the raid.
Several agencies including the NYPD, U.S. Attorney's Office, Department of Homeland Security, Drug Enforcement Administration and U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives contributed to the investigation.