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Queens DA announces million-dollar bust of drug, gun trafficking ring in Jamaica

Jun. 13, 2023 Anthony Medina

Eight men are facing major drug and gun trafficking charges after a year-and-a-half-long investigation that led to the seizure of more than $1 million in narcotics, Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz announced on Tuesday, June 13.

Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz and Deputy Chief Jerry O’Sullivan review evidence on Tuesday, June 13.Photo by Anthony Medina

The group reportedly operated in and around Rufus King Park in Jamaica within the confines of the NYPD’s 103rd Precinct. The Queens District Attorney’s Office in collaboration with the NYPD conducted a series of wiretaps, which led to dozens of undercover purchases of cocaine, ecstasy and guns, by NYPD detectives.

Three Queens residents — Junior Escobar, 20, Juan Escobar, 18, and Manuel Gomez, 43, who live on 161st in Jamaica — have been arrested and face a series of drug and gun charges after police were granted a search warrant for their homes.

The alleged leader of the gang-related organization, Adrian Escobar, 33, who is also known as “King Mango,” hails from 49th Street in Brooklyn. Brothers Johnathan Fernandez, 31, and Joseph Fernandez, 33, as well as Bronx native Jose Escobar, 26, and Hicksville resident Jonathan Suarez, 33, also face serious jail time. The Escobar brothers — Jose, Juan and Junior — are cousins to Adrian Escobar, Katz said.

According to Katz, law enforcement officers seized two 9 mm firearms, one stolen 357 magnum revolver, one 40-caliber firearm, more than 3 pounds of cocaine, over 1 pound of fentanyl, 1.5 pounds of psilocybin mushrooms, 1,337 Adderall pills, 797 Oxycodone pills (30mg), 485 Xanax pills, 334 Methylenedioxy-methamphetamine (MDMA) pills, one car and more than $67,000 in cash, officials said.

Firearms seized as part of the million-dollar drug and gun bust that took place on June 7.Photo by Anthony Medina

“We allege these men were significant drug and gun traffickers who were a grave threat to public safety as peddlers of death and addiction. We will hold accountable anyone threatening the safety of our neighborhoods. We are grateful to the brave undercovers who worked with us on this case. I also want to thank the New York State Police and Nassau County Police for their help. My team and I look forward to prosecuting this case on behalf of the communities we serve,” Katz said.

The supplier of the guns is still at large, Katz said.

Deputy Chief Jerry O’Sullivan also confirmed the group’s affiliation with the Latin Kings gang.

“The NYPD’s fight against the trafficking of illegal guns and illicit narcotics in our city is at the forefront of our public-safety mission. The defendants in this case showed a callous disregard for human life, and we will never waver in our efforts to hold them – and anyone else who threatens the people we serve — fully accountable. I want to thank our NYPD investigators, the Office of the Queens District Attorney, the New York State Police, and the Nassau County Police Department for their work on this important case,” said outgoing NYPD Commissioner Keechant L. Sewell.

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