NEW BRIGHTON — Members of two violent New Brighton-based street gangs linked to 29 shootings and three murders around Staten Island were arrested in big drug sting, prosecutors announced Thursday.
The street crew, some tied to the Bloods gang, were involved in the sale of heroin and cocaine to people around the borough, District Attorney Dan Donovan said.
The sting, dubbed "Operation Jersey Boys" because they operated mainly near Jersey Street in New Brighton, lead to 22 arrests, with two more suspects still being sought by police.
"This is no Broadway musical," Donovan said. "These are hardened criminals singing the blues now that they face serious felony charges."
The two crews have been linked to 29 shootings on Staten Island since 2008, including three homicides, and sold various drugs to customers all across the borough, Donovan said.
"Jersey Street is a lot safer today than it was a week ago," he said.
Police yielded $90,000 in cash, 70 grams of cocaine, three pounds of marijuana, 80 grams of crack, 150 grams of MDMA, two BMWs and more in two separate search warrants.
The Tombstone Gangstas sect of the Bloods, lead by Jatiek Smith, was supplied cocaine by Malike Raines from his Lower East Side home, and sold it to customers around Staten Island who would place orders by calling several cell phone numbers, according to Donovan.
Smith was also supplied heroin to sell from reputed Bloods member Jonathan Alvarado, prosecutors said.
The other crew, lead by Damon Scott Barron, would also plan and negotiate sales through cell phones, which investigators tapped, and Barron's crew would communicate with Smith's through code and cryptic language on sales, Donovan said.
Members of the gang may face up to 30 years in prison, for charges including drug sales, drug possession and possession, Donovan said.
Some were previously convicted of charges ranging from criminal possession of a weapon, to assault and robbery and Smith, who's 17-year-old sister was shot and killed in 2008 by a rival gang aiming for him, was previously convicted of second-degree criminal sexual act, Donovan said.
Barron also was arrested for selling a gun to Clinton James in 2013, who then led police on a wild chase and rammed into one officer.
The year-long takedown of the two gangs stemmed from information police got during the "Operation Mayberry" investigation, which lead to the arrest of 39 people involved in a large drug and gun ring last year, Donovan said.