Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz announced the creation of a Violent Criminal Enterprises Bureau that merges the former Narcotics Investigations Bureau and the Gang Violence bureaus.
The new unit will suppress violent crime in Queens by identifying and prosecuting drivers of violence, narcotics distribution operations, and firearms dealers engaged in organized criminal behavior, including members of violent street gangs.
The launch of the new bureau comes at the start of the summer season, a time of year that usually has an increase in gang activity. The July 4 holiday period has been an especially troublesome time in years past, with a rise in shootings and casualties as a result of violent gang activity.
“As your district attorney, I promised to do everything possible to rid our neighborhoods of violent gangs, gun runners and drug traffickers,” Katz said. “My Violent Criminal Enterprises Bureau will stomp out crews that profit from selling instruments of death in our communities. At the same time, my office will work with members of the community to try to make Queens a safer place, and to focus resources on helping our youths find meaningful outlets for their energy and hopeful opportunities for their futures.”
Katz added that the bureau will aggressively pursue evidence through coordinated information gathering from law enforcement partners as well as from members of the community. The staff will analyze, retain and collect digital data that will help zero in on criminals and prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law.
“This reconfigured bureau will use every resource available to ensure criminal networks, gang activity and other organizations run by drivers of crime are dismantled and that the drugs and weapons they peddle will be taken off our streets.”
To lead the bureau, Katz recruited longtime prosecutor Jonathan Sennett who most recently served as the First Deputy Bureau Chief of the Brooklyn DA’s Violent Criminal Enterprises Bureau. Sennett also previously was a prosecutor with the Bronx DA’s office and the state Attorney General’s Organized Crime Task Force.
The Violent Criminal Enterprises Bureau will operate within the Queens District Attorney’s Investigation Division under the overall supervision of Executive District Attorney Gerard A. Brave.