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Raids snare Latin Kings, police say

Officials: Gang members among drug suspects in Amsterdam

November 14, 2012
By ARTHUR CLEVELAND , The Leader Herald

AMSTERDAM - In one of the biggest drug raids in the city in years, several members of the national street gang Latin Kings were arrested Tuesday along with others at several locations.

Police arrested 12 people and seized drugs and firearms in the raids, city police said.

City Police Detective Lt. Kurt Conroy said some of those arrested were members of the Almighty Latin Kings and Queens Nation, otherwise known as the Latin Kings.

Article Photos

Amsterdam Police Chief Greg Culick announces the arrest of 12 city residents Tuesday after a raid on several locations in the city. Some of those arrested have connections with or are members of the Latin Kings street gang, police said.
The Leader-Herald/Arthur Cleveland

The Kings are a predominantly Hispanic street gang originally from Chicago, but membership has spread across the nation.

Detective Michael Cole said he believes about 30 members of the gang live in Amsterdam, including several arrested Tuesday.

The raids turned up heroin, a pound of marijuana, an "eightball" (3.5 grams) of cocaine, two stolen handguns, cash and several vehicles, police said.

The raids and arrests followed a five-month investigation, police said. The city Police Department, the New York State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigations and Community Narcotics Enforcement Team, the Schenectady County SWAT, Montgomery County Sheriff's Office deputies, the Montgomery County SWAT and the FBI Capital District Gang Task Force were all involved in the raids.

Search warrants were executed at the first floor of 68 Arnold Ave., 70 Arnold Ave., the first floor of 83 Academy St., the second floor of 24 Dewitt St. and part of 2 Harrison Ave.

The following were arrested:

Peter W. Santos, 22, of 68 Arnold Ave., first floor, was charged with third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance, third-degree criminal sale of marijuana, and two counts of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, all felonies.

Ricardo Aponte, 30, currently incarcerated in the Montgomery County Correctional Facility, was charged with third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance, two counts of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, and fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property, all felonies.

According to police, Aponte had possession of both stolen handguns and previously had been convicted of a crime.

Justin Crawford, 26, of 24 Dewitt St., second floor, was charged with second-degree criminal possession of marijuana, a felony, and sixth-degree conspiracy, a misdemeanor.

David Canales, 33, of 83 Academy St., first floor, was charged with third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance, a felony.

Peter D. Santos, 55, of 68 Arnold Ave., first floor, was charged with fifth-degree conspiracy, a misdemeanor.

Jacqueline Santos, 49, of 68 Arnold Ave., first floor; Christina Santos, 19, of 68 Arnold Ave., first floor; Angela Santos, 21, of 70 Arnold Ave.; Raul Baez, 24, of 70 Arnold Ave.; Carlos Vega-Carbonell, 30, 48 Jay St., first floor; Steven Carrero, 23, of 42 Mathias Ave., Apartment 1; and Walter Albino, 24, of 7 Willard St., first floor, were all charged with sixth-degree conspiracy, a misdemeanor.

Conroy said authorities believe several of the suspects were acting together. Five of them are members of the Santos family - a mother, father and three children.

"Most of them have been residents for at least several years in the city of Amsterdam," he said. "Some do have criminal histories."

Conroy said the number of people arrested Tuesday was the highest in a city raid in 20 years.

Maj. Wayne Olson of the Community Narcotics Enforcement Team for the New York State Police said state police work at these types of investigation across the state. This wasn't the first time they have worked with the Amsterdam Police Department.

"We are pretty confident that given everybody's effort and everybody's dedication that we'll continue cases like this and we'll take these threats off the street," Olson said.

Conroy said more arrests may be made over the next several days.



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