Fifteen reputed Bloods street gang members were arrested for allegedly running a dog-fighting ring and dealing heroin containing the same additive that investigators linked to eight fatal overdoses, Nassau County authorities said.
While executing search warrants, investigators rescued 11 Pit Bulls, seized gear used to train dogs to fight and recovered at least two guns, ammunition and brass knuckles. They also seized widely abused prescription pills, including Oxycodone, Codeine and Xanex in addition to heroin laced with fentanyl, a powerful painkiller that authorities said caused the fatal overdoses last year.
“Operation Bloodsport exemplifies that clear and undeniable link between dog fighting and narcotics trafficking,” Acting Nassau District Attorney Madeline Singas told reporters Thursday during a news conference in Mineola.
Authorities identified the alleged ringleaders as Shaheem Allen and Kwame Reaux, both 23 and from Freeport, as well as 23-year-old Daquan McLean of Roosevelt. The suspects rounded up are facing various charges, including conspiracy, drug possession, criminal sale of a controlled substance and dog fighting. They are accused of operating in Freeport, Roosevelt, Baldwin and Lynbrook.
During the five-month investigation that led to the arrests, the suspects earned hundreds of thousands of dollars, police said, although Acting Nassau Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter could not immediately provide a specific dollar amount. He said they seized 600 decks of heroin in one buy along, but also did not have a specific number for the total amount of drugs seized.
In March, Nassau officials issued a a public alert warning of the deadly fentanyl-laced heroin. It wasn’t immediately clear if the heroin seized was sold by the same alleged heroin dealers who the fatal overdose victims bought from.
Authorities said the investigation is continuing and additional arrests are expected. Nassau County SCPA officials also reissued Thursday their offer of a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction of those involved in illegal dog fighting. Investigators ask anyone with information about such cases to call the Nassau SPCA and 516-THE-SPCA.