A long-standing West Side drug gang that filled the void after the 10th Street and 7th Street gangs were imprisoned was knocked out of commission Wednesday with the completion of a roundup that started in February, authorities said.
The Loiza Boys gang, named for a small town in Puerto Rico where the members once lived, was responsible for routinely importing kilos of heroin and selling it from drug houses on the West Side and elsewhere.
The FBI’s Safe Streets Task Force and Buffalo narcotics detectives made four more arrests Wednesday, bringing the total number of arrests and indictments against the gang’s members to 10. Those arrested face various charges of conspiring to sell and distribute heroin and cocaine, in addition to weapons possession charges.
At a news conference, U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr. and Richard M. Frankel, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Buffalo Office, said other members of the gang were taken into custody Feb. 27, after task force members received information about an imminent act of violence.
“Investigators intercepted conversations that revealed that members of the Loiza Boys were determined to avenge a stabbing that had just occurred at the Alden State Correctional Facility,” Frankel said. The individual stabbed in February was described as a relative of a Loiza Boys member.
To prevent the revenge attack, task force members on Wednesday arrested the gang’s leader, Oneil Quinones, 33, along with Jorge Quinones, 35; Edwin Sanchez, 27; and Ellis Colon, 29, all of Buffalo. Task force members also confiscated 450 grams of heroin, three firearms and more than $70,000.
Indicted Wednesday were Oscar Romero, 32; Angel Sanchez, 45; Raul Ramirez-Vargas, 39; Josbel Garcia, 22; Miguel Manso, 42, all of Buffalo; and Jose Rivera, 32, of Niagara Falls.
One of the main drug houses used for distribution of the heroin, which came here from Puerto Rico but originated in South America, was a residence at 24 10th St., according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Melissa M. Marangola, who is the lead prosecutor against the Loiza Boys.
Members of gangs operating from apartments at the Perry projects and in the Fruit Belt section of the city were arrested April 3 in raids by city narcotics investigators and Safe Streets Task Force members.
Hochul noted that a total of 160 gang members, representing the “worst of the worst,” are in custody and their cases are working their way through the court system.
“There have been no acquittals, only convictions,” Hochul said, adding that the cooperation among local, county, state and federal law enforcement agencies makes it possible to keep pressure on gangs.