34 Charged In Alleged Atlantic City Drug Trafficking Ring - New York News

34 Charged In Alleged Atlantic City Drug Trafficking Ring

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CAMDEN, N.J. -

At least 25 people were arrested in pre-dawn raids Tuesday in connection with an alleged "violent drug trafficking organization" from Atlantic City, authorities say.

Those 25 are among 34 suspects in all accused of participating in a conspiracy to distribute heroin since at least October 2012, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Camden.

Among the suspects are two brothers who were already arrested and charged in connection with Atlantic City's first homicide of 2013, and others who were already in custody.

Authorities say tactics used by the street gang "Dirty Block" – which also went by the name "Crime Fam" – allegedly included "threats, intimidation and violence to maintain control of the illegal drug trade in Atlantic City."

Tuesday's raids were carried out by the FBI, New Jersey state police and officers of the Atlantic City Police Department, and they were announced at an afternoon news conference.

The suspected gang members and associates are being charged with conspiracy to distribute heroin, and all were having initial court appearances Tuesday afternoon.

Authorities said their investigation used surveillance, confidential informants, controlled drug purchases, record checks and telephone wiretaps.

Prosecutors said Dirty Block acquires and distributes heroin, cocaine and prescription drugs; maintains various stash houses and drug dens; and possesses numerous illegal firearms to maintain control of drug distribution and to intimidate, threaten and kill rivals.

They also say intercepted telephone conversations reveal that two of the principal targets – Mykal "Koose" Derry and his brother Malik "Lik" Derry – conspired to murder a rival drug dealer, Tyquinn "T.Y." James on Feb. 10, and Malik Derry allegedly carried out the homicide. The two brothers were arrested a day later.

Prosecutors also said evidence shows Dirty Block members wanted to get weapons and ambush members of a rival gang on Christmas Eve before they could leave the Tropicana Casino, but failing that chased down and assaulted their rivals elsewhere.

We'll have some of the prosecutors' remarks and additional information on tonight's newscasts.

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