As many as 50 alleged gang members were arrested in a federal sting at a housing project in the Bronx, authorities say.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said that they were targeting two rival crews that worked out of the Patterson Houses in Mott Haven when they swept through the area Wednesday morning. Twenty-three suspects were cuffed during the sweep, while the remaining 27 were previously taken into custody.
Law enforcement sources tell NBC 4 New York the alleged gangsters were members of the Young Guns and 18th Park, a pair of small neighborhood operations. The rival gangs turned the Patterson Houses into a war zone, according to the sources.
Residents said they heard gunshots every day.
“I live on the high floors, so you hear it like it’s right next door, the gunshots,” said Jasmine Morales.
Tina Long said she’s been forced to keep her children inside, saying the turf war has made life difficult around 3rd Avenue and 145th Street.
“The kids can’t come out, and if they do, they’re always shooting,” said Long .
Charles Mulham of the ATF said the arrests Wednesday will make an immediate impact on residents.
“Now we hope they actually wake up today, and they can actually see and have a palpable sense of a little more quiet, a little more safe environment,” he said.
“As many people as we took off the street, that will definitely improve the quality of life for residents in this area,” he said.
Sources say the alleged gang members rounded up on Wednesday have been linked to at least three homicides, two police shootouts and more than 30 other shootings. They’ve also been implicated in several stabbings.
Some of the suspects could face life in prison if convicted, authorities say.