Fear Drug Gang Takedowns Leave A Drug Supply Vacuum
Bronx Assemblyman Luis Sepulveda, applauding police for bringing down the Black Stone Gorilla Gangstas –a violent drug gang– that plied its trade at a major housing project in his district, is calling for a new focus on drug treatment for addicts left without a supplier. Sepulveda fears that the recent takedowns of violent, drug trafficking gangs leaves their victims –drug addicts and the community– vulnerable to others traffickers unless drug treatment services are introduced immediately.
Last July 29, police took down a crew of violent gangsters affiliated with the Bloods gang who trafficked drugs at the Castle Hill Houses and at Co-op City.
In early morning raids, police arrested 23 alleged members of the Untouchable Gorilla Stone Nation and its subset Black Stone Gorilla Gangstas — both factions of the “Bloods.”
This week, the US Attorney Preet Bharara charged 17 members and associates of two other Bronx-based street gangs, the Taylor Avenue Crew and the Leland Avenue Crew, with racketeering and narcotics offenses, including the murders of two rival gang members.
Bharara said, “Members of the Taylor Avenue and Leland Avenue Crews allegedly wreaked havoc on the community through the sale of crack cocaine and a wave of violence on the streets of the Bronx.  On two occasions, that violence allegedly ended in the murders of rival gang members.”
Police and federal prosecutors took down and charged twenty defendants with narcotics trafficking involving firearms in Bronx. The government alleged that the Black Stone Gorilla Gangstas crew protected its turf with guns and peddled heroin and crack cocaine a block away from a public school.
Luis Sepulveda
“These gangs, responsible for so much violence, would not exist if not for the addicts [customer base] that supports them,” Sepulveda said a day after the gang takedown in July.
Sepulveda, who has been a leader in criminal justice issues in Albany, urged a coordinated effort by city agencies and drug rehabilitation programs to target housing projects and other locations under gang influence with education programs and drug treatment information that drug abusers and addicts can use to find the help they need “to bring them back from the downward spiral of drug use – and diminish the profit motive of  drug gangs.”
“The largest number of residents who come to my district office seeking assistance are drug abusers or their families, hoping to find placement in drug rehabilitation programs,” said Sepulveda, whose district covers Parkchester, West Farms, Van Nest, Unionport, and Stratton Park.
“If this gang takedown creates a drought of drugs at these housing projects, it could be a wake up call – and opportunity for drug abusers to seek help,” he added.
Assemblyman Sepulveda realizes that treatment services don’t appear overnight and that it a matter for the police to ensure that  new crews don’t attempt to fill the drug supply vacuum. He also believes that job training and employment are deterrents to young men joining the drug trade.
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