A dozen men alleged to be part of a burglary and drug trafficking operation responsible for dozens of crimes in Long Island and the Tristate area have been charged with federal conspiracy, burglary and drug distribution, authorities said Wednesday.
The men, alleged to be members and associates of the burglary and drug trafficking organization known as the “Route Boys,” have been indicted by a federal grand jury in Central Islip on an 18 count that supersedes the charges in linked to dozens of pharmacy break-ins and ATM thefts across the region, federal prosecutors said.
The defendants then took to social media to advertise the stolen controlled substances for sale, including ecstasy and fentanyl.
According to prosecutors, the defendants, along with other Route Boys employees, have committed dozens of burglaries at pharmacies and convenience stores in Nassau, Suffolk, Brooklyn, Queens, Westchester and Rockland Counties, as well as in New Jersey and Connecticut.
“For two years, the defendants went on a crime-hunt by attacking local businesses across the tristate, stealing money and drugs to fuel their illegal drug trade, and often using firearms to commit their crimes,” the US attorney said. of the Eastern District, Breon Peace, in a statement.
Members of the Route Boys began committing burglaries in late 2020, according to federal prosecutors.
Two of the defendants are from Long Island: Cavier Nedrick, 25, of Hauppauge, who is known to “Chief” and Jonathan Santiago, 23, of Franklin Square. Their lawyers were not immediately available for comment.
Santiago, who was charged with conspiracy to proliferate controlled substances, including ecstasy and fentanyl, was arrested Wednesday and will appear in a U.S. district court in Central Islip later Wednesday.
Nedrick, who was charged with conspiracy to commit burglary with controlled substances, was already in custody on other charges and will be arraigned at a later date.
The other suspects charged in the alleged crime wave reside in Brooklyn and Queens.
Prosecutors said they were working with a consistent plan, which included three to four participants committing multiple burglaries in quick succession in one night.
The burglars, according to prosecutors, were using stolen cars, with stolen license plates that were routinely swapped to avoid detection. To break into the businesses, they used crowbars, stones or grinders, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors said the burglars routinely went too fast during their crime, endangering the lives of other drivers.
In addition to pharmacies, prosecutors said, there were convenience stores, check cashing shops, laundromats and restaurants, where mostly cash and tobacco products were stolen.
Prosecutors allege they also stole freestanding ATMs, pry them open and then stole the money from the machine.
Some of the defendants posted images of themselves holding weapons, including high-capacity magazines, telescopes and multiple weapons at once, prosecutors said.
And when federal agents arrested Wednesday morning, they claim they found loaded weapons and drugs in the suspects’ homes and vehicles.