Six New York drug dealers and a Baltimore woman were arrested early yesterday as city police cracked down on a violent drug gang that had muscled its way into Baltimore's illicit drug trade.
Police said the gang members -- known as "New York boys" -- used violence and intimidation to seize control of drug activity in the lucrative drug trafficking area around Boyd and Pulaski streets, where drugs are sold openly -- mainly to motorists who live outside the area.
"The New York boys have a reputation of being big and bad boys, and they will shoot you," said Sgt. Jesse B. Oden of the violent crimes task force, the city police unit which made the arrests.
The arrests occurred at 1:30 a.m. yesterday at Boyd and Pulaski streets.
Police said they confiscated cocaine and heroin with an estimated street value of $20,000, $450 in cash, a 9 mm Ruger handgun and drug packaging paraphernalia.
Police identified the alleged leader of the drug ring as Loren "Young Jay" Adams, 22. Also arrested were Troy Campbell, 22; Glen Wharton, 19; Malik Wilson, 20; Robert Williams, 30; and a 17-year-old, whose name was not released.
Police said all the New Yorkers lived in the Bronx but had Baltimore addresses that were either vacant houses or a West Baltimore apartment from which they had been evicted. "They gave local addresses, but prior arrests indicate they came from the Bronx, New York," Sergeant Oden said. "They bring in as much as 2 to 3 kilos of coke every two weeks."
Also arrested was Sheria Savage, 22, of the 1900 block of W. Lexington St. She is believed to be the girlfriend of one of the New York suspects, and a substantial quantity of illegal drugs was found at her residence, police said.
The suspects, charged with numerous drug offenses, were being held at the Southwestern District police station pending bail hearings. No shots were fired, and no one was injured during the arrests, police said.
"It was a nice clean-cut, kind of a surgical operation where we removed them from the neighborhood," said Lt. John V. Sieracki, field commander for the violent crime task force.
Members of the task force were doing surveillance in the area shortly before the arrests and saw the suspects engage in several drug transactions, police said, adding that the officers saw the suspects hide drugs in houses near Boyd and Pulaski streets.
Sergeant Oden also said that at one point officers heard one suspect say, "Time to get a new package [drugs] because we're running low."
Police said that the New York group had operated in Southwest Baltimore since last summer and used violence to gain control of the drug trafficking turf.
Officials said only a few local residents were involved in the drug ring.
"The locals were afraid of them," Sergeant Oden said. "Their thing was to come in and use muscle. There was very little local participation. They feuded with local drug gangs."
Sergeant Oden said that since November there have been about 30 shootings and numerous other incidents traced to this New York drug ring.
Police said the quality of the ring's drugs was superior to that of the local dealers. Sergeant Oden said its cocaine was 95 percent pure.
"That's why the locals love it so much. It will burn a hole right through you nose," he said.
The ring also offered occasional specials, like "two for one" deals, he said.
Police confiscated 860 yellow bags containing heroin, bundled in stacks of 10, cocaine, more than 3,000 empty glass vials and green caps. The green caps, police said, were the drug ring's trademark.
"It may not seem like a lot of dope, but the main thing was getting a violent group of people off the street," Sergeant Oden said.