Fifteen reputed members of Hollis-based street gang were arrested in a long-term drug and firearms investigation, prosecutors announced on Tuesday.
The arrests came following a nearly two-year probe by the NYPD and the Queens District Attorney’s office. Among those charged are a father-and-son team that allegedly peddled cocaine in Hollis; two teenagers who participated in a violent assault in a McDonald’s parking lot; and three associates accused of plotting to murder a rival gang member.
“The defendants are accused of peddling death by trafficking in the sale of illegal drugs and firearms,” said acting District Attorney John M. Ryan on Aug. 27. “Today’s arrests, targeting the gang’s alleged leaders, will put a significant dent in the drug trafficking and drug-related violence plaguing the area. I want to commend the New York City Police Department’s Gun Violence Suppression Division for their hard work. We will continue to fight crime with our law enforcement partners to rid our streets of illegal drugs and firearms.”
Prosecutors said the probe began in September 2017, when the NYPD’s Gun Violence Suppression Division and the Queens District Attorney’s Narcotics Investigation Bureau learned of a narcotics and firearms trafficking organization that allegedly also included three brothers — Clifford Heyward, Erik Heyward and Devante Heyward — as well as Kareem Brown.
The investigation found that the brothers worked with each other and unapprehended others to possess and sell narcotics and firearms in Queens County and elsewhere in New York state.
Using various investigative techniques, including intercepting telephone calls, GPS location monitoring and physical surveillance, the NYPD made 11 arrests in that investigation — and obtained further intelligence that led them to the Henderson New York (HNY) gang.
Throughout the course of two-year-long probe of HNY, the NYPD recovered 10 firearms and over one kilo of cocaine. Investigators gained knowledge through-court-authorized wiretaps that the gang stashed communal gang firearms in various locations, including trap compartments in vehicles as well as a barbecue grill at one individual’s residence. The communal guns were allegedly shared among gang members to use in shootings.
Three of the defendants in the case are iDwayne Bratton, 19, Jerrel Henderson, 18, and Hanif Campbell, 21. They were charged, along with three others, in a seven-count indictment with plotting to kill a rival gang member in the vicinity of the Baisley Park Houses on May 6, 2018.
Another pair of defendants, Wallace Stevenson, 57, and Darron Swinnie, 27, are accused of allegedly being father-and-son drug dealers who distributed cocaine throughout Hollis. The pair is specifically charged with selling more than 200 grams (equal to more than seven ounces) of cocaine on Jan. 31, 2019.
Two teenagers tied to the gang – Issac Wheeler and Khoran Simmons — were also charged for their role in a violent attack of a 23-year-old man during a dispute in a McDonald’s parking lot on Springfield Boulevard in Hollis in September 2018. The victim suffered a laceration to the cheek that required stitches, plus bruising to his ribs and eye.
Eight months later, on May 31, 2019, Wheeler, along with two others, allegedly stabbed the victim’s brother in an effort to intimidate the September victim into dropping the criminal charges. The stabbing victim suffered a puncture wound to his back that required surgery.
“This long-term investigation illustrates the NYPD’s commitment to precision policing and our mission to making the city even safer,” said Police Commissioner James O’Neill. “The NYPD and the Queens District Attorney’s Office will never tolerate drugs, guns and violence in our communities. I want to thank the acting Queens DA and the investigators who worked on this case.”
A full addendum of the defendants charged is available here. The defendants are reputed members of the Henderson New York street gang (HNY). Each of them face a number of charges including attempted murder, criminal possession of a weapon, criminal possession of a firearm, tampering with a witness, reckless endangerment and more.