Cops arrested seven suspected members of a Brooklyn-based drug cartel Tuesday following a yearlong wiretap investigation.
The defendants — who include an eighth, previously incarcerated suspect — not only pedaled poison on Kings County streets in a vast drug trafficking conspiracy, they also indulged in an outlaw existence that put innocent lives on the line, according to the city’s special drug prosecutor.
“In addition to narcotics trafficking, the defendants are charged in connection with brazen daytime shoot-outs with rivals that endangered innocent bystanders,” said Bridget Brennan, the city’s Special Narcotics Prosecutor. “Not only did heroin, cocaine and lethal fentanyl sales endanger lives of those who use the drugs, the profits undoubtedly paid for weapons that put entire communities at risk.”
The Police Department’s wiretap investigation kicked off in the wake of a Stuyvesant Heights shoot-out last August, where cops uncovered surveillance footage that showed brothers Marvin and Michael Watson exchanging gunfire with a rival drug dealer, Brennan said.
Just two days later, Michael Watson was spotted fleeing another shoot-out in Bushwick, and police were able to track him back to a Wyckoff Avenue stash house, where cops recovered cocaine, drug paraphernalia, and three firearms, including one gun that matched shell casings from the Bushwick gunfight, according to Brennan.
Between the shoot-out in August and Tuesday’s arrest, police kept the Watson Brothers and their accomplices’ under constant surveillance, tapping their phone calls, and listening in as the suspects discussed the purchase of guns and bullet-proof vests, along with the sale of narcotics.
Detectives personally scored $6,000 worth of drugs — including heroin, fentanyl, and cocaine — from the suspects amid 10 separate undercover operations beginning in September 2018.
As a result of the investigation, police seized 12 firearms, $25,000, and drugs, as well as to obtaining evidence of a suspected Bedford-Stuyvesant heroin-packaging mill and additional stash houses.
The suspects were arraigned in Manhattan Supreme Court Monday and Tuesday on a 59-count indictment filed by the Special Narcotics Prosecutor’s Office, which includes trafficking narcotics, attempted assault, and illegal possession of weapons, among others.
The defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.