• BREAKING NEWS Shelter in place lifted after prisoner captured

Large gang bust in Washington Heights

March 10, 2009 3:15:06 PM PDT
Jonathan Feliz, known as Sweet Pea and Snoop, along with Reynaldo Montilla, known as Fats, are the alleged leaders of the Trinitarios, a dangerous gang police say.

The group's alleged members and associates -- 35 so far --- were rounded up in early morning raids in Washington Heights and the Bronx. "We are innocent until proven guilty," said one suspect.

They are accused of drug trafficking. Forty-one were indicted after a two year investigation by city and federal officers.

Investigators charge that the Trinitarios controlled drug sales in roughly a four block area of West 171st to West 174th Street in Washington Heights.

According to authorities, the dealers known as pitchers would do the hand-to-hand drug sales on the blocks, and then turn the money over to "managers." They would replenish the drug supply. Investigators found that some of the pitchers would work shift; some of them even double shifts.

Other members are also accused of violent acts. Jonathan Feliz allegedly ordered other members to kill a rival drug dealer at 174th and Audubon Avenue. It was an attempt that failed.

People in the neighborhood did not want to talk about what goes on there.

On the website Gangs Across America, the Trinitarios are described as an emerging threat and one of the fastest growing gangs in the New York/New Jersey area. The Trinitarios started, according to the website, as a prison gang in the city as protection for Dominican inmates.

During the two year investigation, undercover officers purchased thousands of dollars of marijuana, cocaine and crack in private apartments and here on the street.

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