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Feds smash large NYC drug ring

NEW YORK – Federal authorities announced charges against 17 members of a criminal organization based in Harlem, New York for conspiring to distribute cocaine, crack cocaine, and marijuana. The Superseding Indictment also charges seven of the defendants with possessing firearms in connection with, and in furtherance of, the drug distribution conspiracy. One defendant, Roger Key, was also charged in the original indictment with orchestrating a murder-for-hire conspiracy of an individual at gunpoint.

Of the 16 new defendants charged, 10 were taken into custody last night and early this morning as part of a coordinated operation involving federal and local law enforcement officers. All the defendants were arrested Wednesday night and presented in Manhattan federal court Thursday afternoon before a U.S. Magistrate. Ruben Davis and Ruben Fernandez were previously arrested by the NYPD on related state charges and remain detained. Steven Herbert is currently detained on an unrelated federal charge. George Davis is expected to surrender later to law enforcement today, and Keith Purvis and Clayton Mollette remain at large.

As alleged in the Superseding Indictment unsealed today and other documents filed in Manhattan federal court:

From at least 2009 through May 2012, members of the crew sold significant street level quantities of cocaine, crack cocaine, and marijuana in Harlem, New York. Members of the crew used firearms, threats of violence and violence to protect their drug business.

Additionally, in November 2011, Key and others recruited and hired individuals to shoot and kill a victim. During the assassination attempt, one of Key’s co-conspirators, however, shot and hit an innocent bystander, who was standing near the intended victim’s car. The innocent bystander survived.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said: “As alleged, this pack of gun-toting drug dealers wrought havoc, instilled fear, and peddled highly addictive – and sometimes lethal – narcotics in the Harlem neighborhood in which they operated. With today’s indictment, they are now off the streets, but our work is not finished and we remain committed to shutting these violent drug crews down completely. I want to thank New York County District Attorney, Cyrus Vance and his office, who began the investigation into this alleged narcotics crew and shared the fruits of their investigation with our Office, enabling us to build this case. It is another great example of our Offices working together in a way that best serves the case and the interests of the people of Manhattan.”