Editor's Note: This article was first published in the latest edition of the Norwood News, on the streets and online now.
By Alex Kratz
Over the past several years, the area around Creston Avenue, just north of St. James Park, has built a reputation as a hot spot for the drug trade. Periodic violence highlighted the turf wars that accompanied it. Earlier this month, however, local and federal authorities made a big dent in curbing Creston’s infamous image.
Culminating a year-long investigation by the FBI and NYPD with an early morning raid on the so-called “Creston Avenue Crew,” police arrested eight people in the Bronx and three in Puerto Rico. A handful of others were already in custody, while two other Bronxites and a mysterious man named Fnu Lnu (no address was given), also known as “Jesse,” remain at large. In total, charges were filed against 20 people for drug trafficking, firearms and money laundering.
In the course of the raid, authorities discovered three guns, pounds of marijuana, marijuana growing equipment, scales, a police scanner, cocaine and thousands of dollars in cash. It amounted to a fraction of what the organization brought in and distributed over the past five years, law enforcement officials said.
The Creston Avenue Crew had a hand in two recent murders near St. James Park, according to the indictment. Standing in a crowd of bystanders, three of whom were also shot, 27-year-old Christopher “Gremlin” Santiago was murdered in June 2006. In 2009, Carlos Lorenzo was shot and killed on Creston Avenue.
Last year, a young father was shot and killed in the late afternoon while walking out of St. James Park near Creston Avenue. No one has been charged in his murder and it was not mentioned in the indictment.
This bust comes roughly one year after authorities took down the infamous La Perla Organization, which controlled a stretch of Valentine Avenue, just blocks away from Creston Avenue and St. James Park.