FORDHAM, N.Y. (WPIX)—New York City police arrested 31 people and seized more than $1.5 million dollars in cash along with a large quantity of heroin during a raid carried out in the Fordham section of the Bronx.
The suspects are allegedly part of a heroin distribution ring, commonly known as "La Perla Organization." Investigators claim most of the people arrested were members of the Latin Kings and other associated gangs.
A grand jury handed up an 82 count indictment largely charging most of the arrested with conspiracy to distribute narcotics and varying counts of the possesion and sale of heroi.
The alleged ring leaders, identified as Wilson Guerrero, 48, Antonio Carasquillo, 51, Enrique Esquillin, 45, Luis Esquillin, 47, are facing a maximum sentence of up to life imprisonment if convicted of the most serious charge under the Drug Kingpin Statute.
Authorities uncovered the lucrative heroin ring after a 9-month probe involving the Bonx D.A Gangs/ Major Case Bureau, the NYPD Gang/Major Case Division, the NYPD Bronx D.A. Squad and the Bronx District Attorney Detective Investigators.
Officials used court ordered wiretaps on 28 telephone lines, video surveillance, observations by detectives and heroin purchases made by undercover detectives to gather evidence.
The La Perla organization allegedly sold heroin at three locations over a five-year period: a two block stretch on Valentine Ave. Between 194th and 196th Streets, 157t Street and Gerard Ave., and 180th St. And Mohegan Ave.
In addition, detectives seized guns, twelve vehicles and jewelry.
The member apparently earned between $125,000 and $40,000 a day.
More arrests are expected to be made, according to authorities.