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10 suspected Trinitarios gang members arrested in the Bronx, NYPD says

NYPD Deputy Chief Timothy McCormack, center, addresses questions

NYPD Deputy Chief Timothy McCormack, center, addresses questions about the arrest of 10 Trinitarios gang members at a briefing in Manhattan on Wednesday. Photo Credit: Charles Eckert

Ten reputed members of the violent Trinitarios gang were arrested Wednesday in the Bronx in raids by NYPD detectives in a nearly yearlong probe targeting one of New York City’s larger immigrant street gangs, officials said.

In addition to the 10, detectives were looking for five others suspected of gang affiliation who police believe are still in city. Late Wednesday, the NYPD issued a wanted poster on these five men.

Those arrested in the case, which covered violent attacks in the Bronx and upper Manhattan, were hit with charges of conspiracy, attempted murder and gang assault, said NYPD Deputy Chief Timothy McCormack, head of Bronx detectives.

“We believe these are random acts of violence by the Trinitarios gang securing their territory,” said McCormack about actions in the case. Investigators started the investigation in December 2018.

Police with the Bronx gang unit hit 10 different Bronx locations early Wednesday to make the arrests and seized one shotgun, a handgun and other gang-related items in the raid, McCormack said. The defendants are expected to be arraigned Thursday in Manhattan state court.

McCormack wouldn’t give any specific details about the alleged crimes but said they were “very vicious acts of violence, involving knifes and machetes” used on two victims. McCormack wouldn’t name any of those arrested but he believed that one of the men in custody was a high ranking member of a Trinitarios “set” or crew.

The Trinitarios gang, composed of mostly Dominican immigrants, has been viewed by law enforcement officials as an emerging threat in New York City for several years. Estimates of the group’s size range from a low of about 1,000 in the city to as many as 3,000.

Though not as large as the Bloods and the Crips, the Trinitarios are bigger than other violent area immigrant gangs like MS-13 and the 18th Street Gang. Five members of the Trinitarios were convicted in June for the brutal stabbing death in the Bronx of Lesandro “Junior” Guzman-Feliz in June 2018.

Guzman-Feliz, who aspired to be a police officer, was dragged from a bodega, stabbed and pummeled in what turned out to be the mistaken belief by the Trinitarios that he was a rival gang member. It was a crime that shocked the city and came during a spate of other Trinitarios attacks.

McCormack said that none of the gang crimes charged Wednesday were linked to Guzman-Feliz’s slaying, although the same Trinitarios crew that took part in the attack on Guzman-Feliz was implicated in Wednesday’s roundup. But he did say, without elaboration, that two of those charged in the new case were involved separately in the Guzman-Feliz killing. A law enforcement source said that one of those defendants was Elvin Garcia, who is to be sentenced Friday for his murder conviction in the Guzman-Feliz case.

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