The man, Richard Ramirez, was just one of 10 people taken into custody during early morning raids by the New York Police Department in the Bronx, Queens and Upper Manhattan and held on charges including gang assault, conspiracy and attempted murder.
The men are accused of assaulting about half a dozen victims in attacks during 2017 in Upper Manhattan near West 192nd Street, according to one official with knowledge of the case. Five others were still being sought Wednesday evening, police said.
“We believe that these were random acts of violence by the Trinitarios gang protecting their territory,” Deputy Chief Timothy McCormack said at a news conference. The attacks, he said, were “very vicious acts of violence with knives and machetes.”
The men were expected to be arraigned Thursday in state Supreme Court in Manhattan. They are accused of being members of Los Surés, a violent faction of the Trinitarios gang that was behind the killing of Lesandro Guzman-Feliz, the teenager killed in June 2018 when gang members mistook him for a member of a rival group.
Video images of Lesandro, known as Junior, being pulled out of the bodega and hacked to death on the sidewalk stunned the city and the nation.
The police have said the same gang carried out a brutal assault on another man on the Bronx River Parkway two days before Lesandro was killed.
The current charges, however, are not directly linked to Lesandro’s murder, McCormack said.
Investigators believe Ramirez took over the leadership of Los Surés from Diego Suero, who was among a dozen members of Los Surés indicted last year in connection with Lesandro’s killing. In June, a jury convicted five of those men of murder, and they are expected to be sentenced on Friday, according to the Bronx district attorney’s office.
Police recovered a shotgun, a handgun and other “paraphernalia” with gang symbols during the Wednesday morning raids, McCormack said.
Los Surés is one of several factions within the Trinitarios, a prison gang founded in 1993 on Rikers Island by two Dominican prisoners, known on the street as “Junito” and “Caballo,” Detective Paul Jeselson, an expert on Bronx gangs, told The New York Times last year. The two men were seeking “protection inside the jails,” he said.
The name Trinitarios is derived from three revolutionaries of the Dominican Republic. In New York, the gang members are known to use machetes, a symbol of their agrarian roots; the weapons quickly helped to establish their reputation for ruthlessness.
Outside jail, the Trinitarios took hold in the Marcy Houses in Brooklyn, then spread throughout the city and Long Island, Jeselson said.
The factions are highly organized, holding meetings that are governed by a strict set of bylaws. Gang members regularly mete out punishment to transgressors, experts have said.
The expansion of the gang from its origins in 1993 was tightly controlled: New crews could only be created with formal approval of the gang’s leadership. That mixture of discipline and ferocious violence has helped the gang thrive. A police database from 2011 estimated there were 1,181 Trinitarios in the city.
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