'Operation Iron Empire' busts gun, heroin trafficking ring in the Bronx
An investigation dubbed "Operation Iron Empire" busted a gun and heroin trafficking ring and resulted in five arrests Thursday.
The takedown was the result of a joint investigation between the Attorney General's Organized Crime Task Force, the New York Drug Enforcement Task Force and the New York Strike Force, according to an indictment released Thursday.
The use of physical surveillance, electronic surveillance and undercover operations resulted in the now 107-count indictment. The indictment states that Luis Alsina, Michael Alsina, Miguel Rodriguez, Josue Pagan-Adorno and Rafael Cruz are charged with trafficking numerous assault weapons, semi-automatic pistols, revolvers, 11 high-capacity ammunition feeding devices, and more than 300 rounds of ammunition.
All five have been charged with criminal sale of a firearm, criminal possession of a weapon, and conspiracy for their alleged participation in the illegal gun trafficking operation.
The indictment additionally states that Luis Alsina and Michael Alsina are being charged with various counts pertaining to the sale of approximately 250 grams of heroin. It alleges that Luis Alsina and Michael Alsina combined to sell the heroin to undercover officers on four occasions spanning from Aug. 7, 2019 through Sept. 5, 2019.
According to the investigation, it is stated that Michael Alsina acted as a broker between his firearms suppliers and undercover officers, whom he sold firearms and or ammunition to on 10 occasions.
The indictment also states that Luis Alsina provided the firearms and or ammunition to Michael Alsina for seven of those 10 sales and that Rafael Cruz supplied two firearms for sales brokered by Michael Alsina, while Josue Pagan-Adorno and Miguel Rodriguez transported firearms for sale.
"Let these arrests serve as a loud and clear message: there is zero-tolerance for gun trafficking in New York," said Attorney General Letitia James. "These five individuals allegedly made a business of flooding our communities with dangerous weapons - including assault weapons -and drugs, putting our city in harm's way. I thank our partners in law enforcement for their invaluable support and for their help to ensure the safety of all New Yorkers."
The 107-count indictment also charged the five individuals with criminal sale of a firearm in the third degree, criminal possession of a weapon in the second degree, and conspiracy in the fourth degree, among other charges. It states that Luis Alsina and Michael Alsina were also charged with criminal sale of a firearm in the first degree.
If convicted, both Luis Alsina and Michael Alsina face a maximum of 25 years in prison, according to the indictment.
The slew of charges are met with multiple offenses including criminal sale of a controlled substance in the first degree. This can add an additional maximum of 10 years in prison, according to the indictment.
Miguel Rodriguez and Rafael Cruz currently face a maximum of 15 years in prison and Josue Pagan-Adorno faces a maximum of seven years in prison, according to the indictment.
"It is a fact, illegal drug trafficking and gun violence threaten the lives of New Yorkers," said DEA Special Agent in Charge Ray Donovan. "As a result of this investigation, we have taken 16 firearms, four assault weapons, and five gun and/or drug traffickers off the streets of the Bronx. I commend our state, local, and federal counterparts whose diligent efforts resulted in these arrests and seizures."