By Carla Zanoni and Ben Fractenberg
MANHATTAN — Fifty members of the violent Trinitarios gang that terrorized The Bronx and operated in sections of Upper Manhattan were rounded up Wednesday on a slew of charges from racketeering to drugs and guns, authorities said.
The arrests came after a two-year investigation into the Dominican gang, which engaged in narcotics trafficking, murder and attempted murder, according to federal authorities.
Sources said that the crew operated in Upper Manhattan as well as Marble Hill and investigators were "still looking at other individuals" in the area.
“For nearly eight years, the Trinitarios street gang terrorized a wide swath of the Bronx with their drug dealing and violence," said Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara in a statement. "Gangs like the Trinitarios are a cancer on New York’s neighborhoods — both in the physical harm they inflict and the atmosphere of despair they create."
The arrests are the second large bust of the gang in two years. More than 40 members of the gang based out of Washington Heights were charged with selling marijuana, cocaine and crack cocaine in 2009.
The gang is also involved in feuds with rival gangs, including the Latin Kings, Dominicans Don't Play, the Crips and the Bloods, sources said.
Gang leaders Leonides Sierra, Richard Gonzalez, Jose Cruz, Carlos Urena, Edwin Ciriaco, Anibal Ramos and Antonio Pena were among those arrested and charged with ordering gang members to carry out activities including murder and kidnapping, according to the indictment.
Cruz also led a group within the gang known as the "Bad Boys," authorities said.
“The ‘Bad Boys’ are out of their narcotics-related business of shootings, stabbings and gun trafficking because of outstanding work by the NYPD Gang Division, federal agents and prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney’s Office,” said Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly.
During the arrests authorities also recovered marijuana, cocaine, heroin and ecstasy, at least two firearms with ammunition, two machetes and multiple knives.