Seven people were arrested last week in connection to a drug and firearm selling scheme throughout Jamaica, District Attorney Melinda Katz announced last week.
Two investigations, one beginning in November 2018 and the other in November 2019, found that those arrested — including an eighth person arrested earlier this year — were allegedly members of two separate drug and gun pushing crews that purchased the illegal goods from the same supplier.
Four main defendants — Steven Campbell, 37, Charles Gillespie, 19, Javial Davis, 28, and an unnamed 17-year-old defendant, all of whom are Jamaica residents — have been variously charged with conspiracy, criminal sale of a controlled substance, criminal sale of a firearm and a handful of other charges, according to the DA.
“Even during this global pandemic, our on-going investigations continued with 11 guns seized and several ounces of cocaine and quantities of fentanyl and heroin taken off our streets,” Katz said. “I want to thank the hard work of all the prosecutors within my office, as well as the members of the NYPD’s Gun Violence Suppression Division. Our combined unrelenting efforts will help keep Queens residents safe.”
The two police operations, Operation Blast Off and Operation Ace in the Hole, utilized court-authorized warrants, surveillance, undercover buys and various other investigative measures to identify the suspects arrested in the case, Katz said.
Operation Blast Off began in November 2018 and was focused on Campbell, who sold drugs to an undercover detective outside of a Queens gym, according to Katz.
In November 2019, Operation Ace in the Hole began looking into the alleged selling of cocaine, heroin, fentanyl and illegal guns by Gillespie, the unnamed defendant and a co-defendant, Katz said. Gillespie allegedly sold six guns, several high-capacity magazines and several rounds of ammunitions to an undercover detective from Feb. 5, 2020, until March 16, 2020, according to the DA.
The DA added that Gillespie would also allegedly reach out the undercover detective with new merchandise weekly.
The two operations combined when investigations found that a suspect of Operation Blast Off was the alleged supplier of the crew being investigated by Operation Ace in the Hole, the DA said.
Campbell was charged with conspiracy in the second degree and criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree. He was released on his own recognizance and is set to appear in court on May 26. He faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted.
Gillespie was charged with criminal sale of a controlled substance, conspiracy and criminal sale of a firearm. Bail was set at $500,000 and the next court date is set for May 29. He faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted.
The unnamed minor defendant was charged with criminal sale of a controlled substance and conspiracy. They were released on their own recognizance and set to appear in court on May 6. They face up to 25 years in prison if convicted.
Davis was charged with criminal possession of a weapon, criminal sale of a firearm and conspiracy. Bail was set at $200,000 and he is set to appear in court on May 29. He faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.
The five other defendants include Chad Taylor, a 40-year-old from Brooklyn; Benjamin Williams, a 38-year-old from Hollis; Carlton Powell, a 22-year-old from Jamaica; and Samuel Wilson, a 40-year-old from Jamaica.
One additional individual is still being sought by the police.