More NYC gang raids coming, say law enforcement leaders

NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton and Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson vowed Thursday to conduct more raids like Wednesday’s dragnet that ensnared gang members and busted up suspected gun and drug-running operations.

The early morning operation by the NYPD and federal agents resulted in 120 arrests in several Bronx housing projects, authorities said.

The massive sweep — among the largest in city history — “will go a long way to make the streets of the city safer,’’ said Johnson, adding that federal grants funded the joint operation.

Both Johnson and Bratton praised the sweep at a news conference Thursday at the end of a three-day “Leadership In Counter Terrorism” meeting.

About 300 top law enforcement and intelligence officers from police departments nationwide attended the meetings, near Ground Zero this week along with local law enforcement officials from England, Scotland, Australia and Canada.

Bratton said more gang arrests are expected.

“We are still looking for about 25 to 30 more who were not at home’’ during the Wednesday raids, the commissioner said. Those in custody, who face federal racketeering charges, likely won’t make bail and will be more willing to give up the whereabouts of those still at large, Bratton said.

“This is a major takedown where there is intelligence gathering. This is not a one shot affair,’’ he said. “The message is loud and clear: We are coming and we are intensifying our efforts.’’

Hundreds of NYPD officers and federal agents from the Department of Homeland Security Investigations, Drug Enforcement Administration, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the U.S. Marshals Service rounded up warring gang members.

Among those arrested, police said, were gang members responsible for at least five killings, including the 2009 shooting death of 92-year-old Sadie Mitchell in her home.

Johnson said the same “multi-jurisdictional’’ approach to combating terrorism can be used to take down “criminal gangs that threaten public safety.’’ He said federal and local law enforcement must “learn how to train together and respond together.”

On the international terrorism front, Johnson said Homeland Security will continue its emphasis on monitoring international travel of “suspicious individuals’’ through a shared passport database and continue to build “a bridge with communities that terrorists target for recruitment.’’

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