Undercover operation busts Jackson Heights-based drug gang: DA

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The NYPD smashed a Jackson Heights-based drug gang following a long-term investigation last week. Police arrested 18 people during an early morning raid May 23, seizing cocaine, heroin, loaded guns, a machete, five vehicles and $80,000 in cash, according to the Queens DA.

Nine suspected members of the 97th Street Trinitarios and #Hot97Boyz street gangs were facing multiple counts of drugs and weapons charges following the investigation, which had undercover police successfully purchasing firearms and illicit drugs, including cocaine and heroin laced with Fentanyl, from the defendants between August 2016 and May 2018, the DA said.

“These arrests should serve as a warning to drug dealers and gang members who operate in New York City that law enforcement is coming for you,” Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said. “We will continue to aggressively track down those who flood our community with illegal drugs and guns and put them behind bars.”

Brown identified the main defendants as Oscar “Diddy” Urena, 35, of Jackson Heights; Jesus “Junior” Mota, 34, of College Point; and Dionis “Moz” Fernandez, 23, of Whitestone. Additionally, Joseph “Jay” Payamps, 23, of Corona, was arrested following a court-ordered search of his residence where police allegedly seized $62,337 in cash and 240 grams of cocaine along with scales, packaging and kilo presses, according to Brown.

The defendants were arraigned with 14 others in Queens Criminal Court on various complaints charging them with criminal possession of controlled substance, criminal possession of a weapon and other alleged crimes. According to the charges, the alleged gang members operated primarily in Jackson Heights, Elmhurst and Corona. Utilizing court-authorized wire taps, investigators were able to eavesdrop on telephone conversations between several of the defendants.

On June 20, 2017, investigators tapped a call between Urena and another man who said, “I want a hard one and two rices,” to which Urena said, “OK, two and one,” and a few minutes later the two were observed making a hand-to-hand exchange. Detectives seized a plastic bag containing a rock of crack cocaine and two bags of powder cocaine.

A detective also managed to buy an illegal gun from Urena on April 28, 2017, the DA said. The detective met with Urena and bought a black Jimenez Arms semi-automatic firearm and 11 rounds of ammunition for $940, and a bag of marijuana. Brown said there were many incidents where undercover detectives made similar purchases from defendants such as Fernandez and Mota.

Urena, Payamps and Fernandez face up to 20 years in prison if convicted. Mota faces 14 years. The NYPD released the names of the other 10 defendants, including Leslie Julbe, 39, of College Point; Daniel D. Cepeda, 19, of Jackson Heights; Raymond “Delivery” Ferreira, 19, of College Point; Abel “Flaco” Diaz, 27, of Corona; Jacinto Cabral, 41, of Corona; Rafael Castillo, 50, of East Elmhurst, Damaris Castillio, 42, of East Elmhurst; Daniella Zamoria, 24, of Whitestone; Eva Ferreira, 26, of College Point and Randy Fernandez, 24, of East Elmhurst.

Eight other individuals have been arrested and charged in connection with the investigation, according to the Queens DA’s office.

“Each day our efforts to rid New York City streets of illegal narcotics and associated gang and crew violence are made stronger and more precise through our law enforcement partnershi­ps,” Police Commissioner James O’Neill said. “I commend everyone involved in this long-term case, particularly the NYPD detectives who put themselves directly in harm’s way. Our nation’s best investigators will continue to focus intently on anyone who chooses to engage in this illicit behavior.”

Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at or by phone at (718) 260–4538.

Updated 9:01 am, June 5, 2018
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Reader feedback

Helton from Flushing says:
Not that I would ever expect the Times Ledger to report on this, but I think it's important to know if any of the arrested suspects are in the country illegally.
June 5, 8:28 am
Does it matter? Are you here illegally @helton
June 5, 10:38 am
Helton from Flushing says:
Born and raised in Brooklyn.

It doesn't matter because I want all miscreants and criminals locked up for a very long time so they can't hurt innocent people.

It matters because of the proliferation of illegal alien gangs like MS-13. I want to know how many illegal criminals shouldn't even be here. It's already too high of a number and we need to take a stand to stop it now.
June 5, 11:44 am
Lunchbox from Flushing says:
Criminals a criminal no matter their legal status
June 5, 4:30 pm
Yesitmatters from Queens says:
Yes, lunchbox, it does matter. It matters because we already have enough of our own legal citizens who need to be kept in jail. Meanwhile, we can't keep anyone in jail because our system is too crowded due to illegals who shouldn't have been here in the first place. If these people are illegals, then we need to stop them from coming into this country BEFORE this happens. Would you like it if one of them raped or murdered one of your family members? Or would you think that it could have been prevented if the government didn't go so easy on illegals and had a wide open door policy?
June 6, 4:09 am
ah THE HYPOCRITES in the comments sections.
I'll go back observing my town and make sure the criminals are in check.
June 8, 9:02 am
timetochange from queens says:
Putting them in jail where they still have resources on the outside and their buddies in the inside does not work. We must find a better solution of punishment, jail time is not working. We must find away stop all this from coming to out state and all state, the ports are not properly supervised nor our highways and neither by plane
June 10, 1:02 pm
Ray from Jackson Heights says:
The Heights has always been like that, used to be Basuco dealers on Roosevelt Ave. 24/7 but it’s gone underground now so this is nothing new. I feel they actually cleaned it up considering there were a lot of shootings, homicides in the late eighties cause of the drug trade in that area.
June 24, 9:51 am

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