Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz revealed the results of a 15 month investigation into a vast drug trafficking organization spanning from Jamaica to suburban Suffolk and Westchester Counties. The investigation, dubbed “On The Mark,” targeted a family run operation that involved 11 defendants. The charges include drug trafficking, gun possession, and other criminal activities.
The Queens District Attorney’s office with the aid of the NYPD launched the initial investigation in August 2022. Undercover agents successfully purchased over four-thousand-dollars worth of street drugs like heroin and fentanyl. The investigation also included wiretaps which unraveled a vast network of storage, distribution, and sales of these drugs. Investigators determined that the operation was ultimately led by James “Pops” Andrews of Brentwood.
In December, authorities executed raids Queens, Suffolk County, and Yonkers. With the cooperation of the Yonkers Police Department, a residence in Yonkers occupied by Juan Torres, 59, secured a cache of heroine and other drug-related paraphernalia.
The 11 defendants, arraigned on December 6 and 7, face a myriad of charges. James “Pops” Andrews, the alleged ringleader, faces a 61 count indictment. His charges include conspiracy, operating as a major trafficker, and criminal possession of a controlled substance. He faces a potential sentence of up to 20 years to life in prison.
Juan Torres from Yonkers, is charged with first-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, second-degree conspiracy, and second-degree criminally using drug paraphernalia. If found guilty, Torres could be serve a maximum of 20 years in prison.
Those who peddle poison are on notice. There is no higher priority for my office than to rid our communities of drugs and guns. This type of ‘family business’ will simply not pay. We will not relent in our efforts to dismantle trafficking rings and bring to justice those who put countless lives at risk by running open air drug markets.Melinda Katz – Queens District Attorney
The outcome of “On The Mark” demonstrates the collaborative efforts of law enforcement agencies to dismantle drug trafficking organizations statewide.