25 arrested in Bronx drug trafficking takedown

THE BRONX — More than two dozen members of a Bronx drug trafficking organization tied to the sale of crack cocaine and heroin, as well as armed robbery in the borough, have been arrested, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s announced Thursday.

Twenty-five accused members of a Bronx drug trafficking operation were arrested on May 31, 2017. (ICE)

Of 25 people arrested Wednesday, 21 are associated with a drug-distribution organization operating primarily in Hunts Point, and 14 were taken into federal custody, ICE said in a news release.

In addition to selling large amounts crack cocaine and heroin, the arrestees used and carried firearms in connection to drug trafficking, according to ICE.

Among those arrested, Michael Patterson, and Trevon Nedd and Ruben Vizcarrando are accused of participating in a gunpoint robbery of suspected narcotics traffickers in the Marble Hill area on June 22, 2016.

Patterson and an unnamed second person also allegedly fired weapons during the June incident.

Months later, in October, Lattine Clark fired a gun in a shootout near Coster Street and Spofford Avenue, according to ICE.

“These individuals are alleged to deal crack cocaine and heroin in their own backyards and commit robberies at gunpoint,” said Angel M. Melendez, special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations in New York.

The following is a list of those arrested, and the charges and penalties they face, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office:

  • Narcotics conspiracy; max penalty of life in prison, mandatory minimum of 10 years: Hector Palermo, Miguel Guzman, Miguel Ramirez, Felix Cordero Sr., Matthew Prestol, Chris Alicea, Khaaliq Harris, Adrian Quinones, Frederick Burgos, Rafael Gonzalez, Angel Bermudez, Juan Carlos Rodriguez, Jesus Andino, Elvin Maldonado, Jose Ayala, Esteban Martinez, Christian Rivera, Steven Vega, Denise Ortiz, Carmen Roman, and Ashley Rodriguez.
  • Using, carrying, possessing firearms in furtherance of narcotics conspiracy; max penalty of life in prison, mandatory minimum of five years: Guzman, Ramirez, Cordero Sr., Prestol, Alicea, Burgos, Gonzalez, Rodriguez, and Vega.
  • Felon in possession of ammunition, 10 years’ imprisonment: Ramirez.

The arrests were nearly two years of investigations, and were a joing operation by ICE,  Homeland Security Investigations New York; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in New York; and the NYPD.