Crime / Police

Hoe Ave. drug bust takes down 20

File photo

914 Hoe Ave.

Building has a long history of violence

One of Hunts Point’s hottest corners was the scene of a major drug bust on the morning of July 30. Law enforcement officials stormed the rundown, six-story walkup at 914 Hoe Ave. near the corner of Aldus Street Thursday morning and arrested 20 people on charges of conspiracy to distribute large quantities of heroin and crack, dating back to May 2014. Six were also charged with possession of firearms, and police say that one of the defendants shot at two people on Aldus Street in May.

The defendants are being charged with selling heroin and crack from stairwells and other common areas at 914 Hoe and other apartment buildings in the vicinity. In addition, law enforcement officials say, the suspects had converted private apartments into drug stash houses. 

The takedown was a joint operation involving the NYPD and the FBI.

Fifteen of the defendants are in federal custody and are expected to be arraigned in Manhattan federal court.  Fourteen of them were taken in on Thursday, and the other was already in jail for a separate criminal case.

The U.S. Attorney for Manhattan, Preet Bharara, said the mass arrest a block from PS 75  and the Hunts Point Ave. 6 train station would help make the streets safer.

“The twenty defendants charged today were part of a dangerous drug trafficking crew that terrorized a Bronx neighborhood by peddling heroin and crack cocaine in apartment buildings with families and children, just a block from a public school,” said Bharara in a July 30 press release, adding “the crew protected its turf with guns, not afraid to shoot at people in front of a Bronx apartment building.”

The 20 defendants range in age from 20 to 56. Those charged with  trafficking alone face mandatory minimum prison terms of 10 years and maximum prison terms of life.  The six defendants facing both trafficking and weapons charges face mandatory minimums of 15 years and maximum prison terms of life.

The defendants have only been charged, and are presumed innocent unless proven guilty.

“There have been problems at that corner for a long time,” said Community Board 2 District Manager Rafael Salamanca, who is also president of the 41st Precinct Community Council, where police officers and community residents meet once a month to discuss crime and safety issues.

Indeed, the six-story apartment building has a long history of violent conflict. A Daily News story from Dec. 12, 2005 headlined “Like Hell on Earth. Long legacy of drugs and death at one Bronx bldng” starts off with the bold claim that “914 HOE AVE. could easily be the most dangerous address in New York” before running off a list of drug deals and murders.

In Sept. 1994 a sniper shot three people from the roof of the building, killing one.

The building was made famous for the Hoe Ave. Peace Meeting in December 1971, when members of two rival gangs met to propose a first-of-its-kind truce after combatants from one faction murdered a peacemaker from the other.

 

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