Affiliates of the Bloods were allegedly running the Jackson and Melrose Projects in the Bronx, leading to dozens of shootings and about 20 unsolved murders, which prompted the federal authorities to step in.
As the gangsters were selling heroin and crack, the DEA and ATF were engaged to work with local police in a series of undercover drug buys, wiretaps, and lightning raids under Operation Rotten Apple.
In their sweep they caught 4 guns, about $18,000 cash, 1,000 bags of dope, and 40 alleged Bloods associates, 37 of them on Tuesday morning; 13 other defendants are still being sought for a grand total of 53.
Indictments were unsealed yesterday on Johnnie Weaver, Tyrone Barnes, Ronny Gonzalez, Flor Forte, Makell Cruz, and Jason Horsford, for various crimes including assault and weapons and drug possession. No murder indictments have been revealed yet.
The Melrose section of Bronx has a population of 30,000. Although currently on the rise, for decades Melrose has been one of the poorest communities in America and continues to be plagued by high levels of gang activity, drug use, prostitution, and homelessness.