A gun violence prevention advocate has been arrested in a significant drug and gun bust after being ensnared in a two-year investigation dubbed “Operation in Plain Sight.”
Michael Rodriguez, 49, was arrested at his house in Yonkers, New York, on July 26 after police seized a stash of unlawful contraband, together with greater than a kilogram of cocaine, three handguns and a shotgun.
The activist was additionally discovered with $165,000 in money and $50,000 in jewellery, and is charged with orchestrating a significant human trafficking ring whereas appearing as government director of Bronx Rises Against Gun Violence.
Rodriguez was certainly one of 15 folks arrested within the main operation, as officers positioned him on the head of a prison group that distributed medication and weapons in New York’s Orange County.
Just days earlier than his arrest, Rodriguez praised the work of his group Bronx News 12 on the group’s annual cookout, saying the occasion was to rejoice “bringing peace to the community.”
Michael Rodriguez, 49, ran the group Bronx Rises Against Gun Violence whereas allegedly a member of a drug and gun-running gang
Rodriguez praised his group days earlier than his arrest, saying it introduced “peace to the community.”
Officials proudly introduced an enormous stash of unlawful weapons and medicines they seized on the finish of the two-year investigation from Rodriguez’s house in Yonkers
Rodriguez’s group, generally known as BRAG, particularly labored with at-risk youth within the Bronx borough of New York City to assist stem the unfold of gun violence within the space.
But simply an hour away, he allegedly orchestrated the unfold of weapons and crime within the cities of Middletown, Port Jervis and surrounding areas.
County prosecutor David Hoovler condemned the activist when he introduced the arrest, saying Rodriguez’s alleged double life was “unconscionable.”
“The same man we have who is supposed to stop gun violence in a jurisdiction in New York City is poisoning our jurisdiction here,” he instructed a information convention.
“It is unconscionable that the director of a respected group that has pledged to reduce gun violence and help at-risk youth would choose to become a major drug dealer and commit gun crimes.”
Officials positioned Rodriguez on the head of a prison group that distributed medication and weapons in New York’s Orange County
At the tip of the two-year operation, a trove of unlawful weapons and medicines was seized
Investigators relied on court-ordered wiretapping techniques within the in depth investigation, which led to the execution of seven search warrants, based on the Yonkers Ledger.
Rodriguez and one other particular person, Angelica Rodriguez, who shouldn’t be associated, are accused of supplying cocaine to different decrease degree gamers who then distributed the medication in the neighborhood.
Rodriguez’s group, generally known as BRAG, particularly labored with at-risk youth to assist cease the unfold of gun violence
“In the early stages of this investigation, the Narcotics Unit realized that this had tentacles that extended well beyond the boundaries of Middletown,” Middletown Police Chief John Ewanciw mentioned on the information convention, noting the scope of the alleged operation.
Both Rodriguez’s are charged with drug possession and all 15 of these arrested within the sting are charged with conspiracy. The activist has additionally been charged with two counts of prison possession of a weapon.
In an announcement to Bronx News 12, a BRAG spokesperson mentioned, “We are aware of the investigation and allegations that have been made.
“As we work to learn more, our primary focus remains on the communities we serve and our programs that help keep them safe.”
The arrest was introduced Saturday by Orange County DA David Hoovler, who condemned Rodriguez’s alleged double life as “unconscionable”
Rodriguez acted as government director of Bronx Rises Against Gun Violence whereas allegedly working a big drug and gun ring
Authorities mentioned almost the entire medication present in Rodriguez’s house have been laced with fentanyl, a extremely poisonous and harmful opioid.
Hoovler famous the harm the drug is wreaking throughout America when he introduced the arrests, citing that between 2017 and 2022, a median of 117 folks died every year from fentanyl overdose in his state.
Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark additionally spoke on the press convention, calling the allegations towards Rodriguez “shocking and disturbing.”
“Especially since he has attended anti-violence events and peace marches portraying himself as someone who wants to stop violence in our community,” he added.
“These allegations are the exact opposite of the good work that violent groups are doing.”
The two-year investigation included City Police from Middletown, Port Jervis and Yonkers, the Orange County Drug Task Force and District Attorney’s Office, the State Police’s Violent Gang and Narcotics Enforcement workforce, the Sheriff’s Special Operations Group and the Hudson Valley Crime Analysis Center .