5 charged in 107-count indictment in Bronx gun, heroin trafficking bust

BRONX, New York City (WABC) -- A gun and heroin trafficking ring has been busted in the Bronx, resulting in five arrests, authorities announced Thursday.

New York Attorney General Letitia James and the New York Strike Force unveiled a 107-count indictment charging the five suspects for their alleged roles in the operation that illegally sold 16 firearms, including four assault weapons, 11 high-capacity ammunition feeding devices, and hundreds of rounds of ammunition.

The defendants are identified as 30-year-old Luis Alsina, 27-year-old Michael Alsina, 32-year-old Miguel Rodriguez, 29-year-old Josue Pagan-Adorno, and 22-year-old Rafael Cruz. The indictment additionally charges Luis Alsina and Michael Alsina with various counts pertaining to the sale of approximately 250 grams of heroin.

"Let these arrests serve as a loud and clear message, there is zero tolerance for gun trafficking in New York," James said. "These five individuals allegedly made a business of flooding our communities with dangerous weapons including assault weapons and drugs, putting our city in harm's way. I thank our partners in law enforcement for their invaluable support and for their help to ensure the safety of all New Yorkers."

The investigation, dubbed "Operation Iron Empire," included the use of physical surveillance, electronic surveillance, and undercover operations.

During the course of the recorded transactions, authorities said the defendants repeatedly referenced their ability to obtain guns from Pennsylvania and bring them into New York to be sold.

According to the indictment, Michael Alsina acted as a broker between his firearms suppliers and undercover officers, to whom he sold firearms and/or ammunition on 10 occasions between June 22, 2019, and November 12, 2019.

Additionally, Luis Alsina provided the firearms and/or ammunition to Michael Alsina for seven of those 10 sales and also sold firearms directly to undercover officers on three other occasions from June 22, 2019, through December 27, 2019, according to the indictment.

The indictment also alleges that Rafael Cruz supplied two firearms for sales brokered by Michael Alsina, while Josue Pagan-Adorno and Miguel Rodriguez transported firearms for sale to undercover officers, and that Luis Alsina and Michael Alsina combined to sell approximately 250 grams of heroin to undercover officers on four occasions spanning from August 7, 2019 through September 5, 2019.

Officials say the five defendants were charged with criminal sale of a firearm, criminal possession of a weapon, and conspiracy for their participation in the illegal gun trafficking operation. Luis Alsina and Michael Alsina were also charged with criminal sale of a controlled substance and criminal possession of a controlled substance, as well as conspiracy, for their participation in the illegal heroin distribution scheme.

If convicted, Luis Alsina and Michael Alsina face a maximum of 25 years in prison. Miguel Rodriguez and Rafael Cruz each face a maximum of 15 years in prison if convicted, and Josue Pagan-Adorno faces a maximum of seven years in prison if convicted.

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