Nine reputed members of two Queens-based street gangs busted for dealing drugs & guns

Photos via Twitter/@NYPDNews

Law enforcement agents dropped the hammer this week on alleged Queens gang members who dealt drugs and guns on the streets of Corona, Elmhurst and Jackson Heights, prosecutors announced on Thursday.

Nine alleged members of the 97th Street Trinitarios and #Hot97Boyz gangs wound up in handcuffs on May 23 following police raids resulting from a long-term joint investigation by the NYPD Queens Gang Unit and the Queens District Attorney’s Narcotics Investigations Bureau. Another nine individuals connected to the drug sales also wound up behind bars.

“A morning wake-up call by the police armed with court-authorized search warrants early yesterday morning resulted in the arrest of 18 individuals and the seizure of narcotics and drug paraphernalia, including marijuana, cocaine, crack cocaine, heroin, scales, packaging and over $80,000 in cash,” Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown said on May 24. “Police also confiscated a machete and five vehicles.”

Among the arrested suspects were Oscar “Diddy” Urena, 35, of Jackson Heights; Jesus “Junior” Mota, 34, of College Point; and Dionis “Moz” Fernandez, 23, of Whitestone. Brown identified them as the main defendants in the case.

Others charged on May 23 included Corona’s Joseph “Jay” Payamps, 23, who allegedly had $62,337 in cash and 240 grams of cocaine inside his residence during a police raid on Wednesday morning. The five additional alleged gang members arrested on Wednesday included Leslie Julbe, 39, of College Point; Daniel “D” Cepeda, 30, of Jackson Heights; Raymond “Delivery” Ferreira, 19, of College Point; Abel “Flaco” Diaz, 27, of Corona; and Jacinto Cabral, 41, of Corona.

Wednesday’s raids stemmed from an 20-month investigation into drug and gun sales in Corona, Elmhurst and Jackson Heights dating back to August of 2016. Law enforcement agents used court-authorized surveillance methods and employed undercover officers who wound up making more than 35 drug purchases and three gun transactions.

Those sales, combined with the raids, resulted in the recovery of two loaded 9mm firearms, a loaded .22-caliber handgun, a stun gun and quantities of cocaine, Tramadol pills, marijuana and eight vehicles. Authorities also recovered heroin laced with Fentanyl — the potent, synthetic painkiller that has contributed to the opioid crisis gripping Queens and the United States.

Law enforcement officials at One Police Plaza in Manhattan announce the results of the Queens raids.
Law enforcement officials at One Police Plaza in Manhattan announce the results of the Queens raids.

Urena, Fernandez, Mota and Payamps each face various charges of criminal sale and possession of controlled substances, criminal possession of a weapon and could each between 14 and 20 years behind bars if convicted, Brown said.

Julbe, Cepeda, Ferreira, Diaz and Cabral also face various charges of criminal possession of a controlled substance and face prison terms of between four and 20 years if convicted.

Additionally, Brown announced the arrest of five individuals charged as a result of the court-authorized searches: Rafael Castillo, 50, of East Elmhurst; Damaris Castillo, 42, of East Elmhurst; Daniella Zamoria, 24, of Whitestone; Eva Ferreira, 26, of College Point; and Randy Fernandez, 24, of East Elmhurst. All of them face lesser charges of criminal possession of a controlled substance, among other counts.

Among the five other individuals arrested during the course of the active investigation is Jeremy “Koro” Bello, 37 of Corona, who was cuffed in December 2017 on an attempted murder charge and remains held on $500,000 bond or $250,000 cash. The other four suspects include Joel Nunez, 38, of Corona; Julio Sanchez, 31, of Ozone Park; Dale Jolly, 35, of Long Meadow, MA; and Marco Hernandez, 38, of East Elmhurst.

Three individuals connected to the investigation were previously prosecuted and sentenced for their roles. One other defendant remains at large, Brown added.

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