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The Brooklyn neighborhood of South Williamsburg has been a hub of development and gentrification, but a bustling heroin drug ring also used the area has the home base for its operations. According to reports from the District Attorney, 25 people connected to the heroin ring were arrested on Thursday.

The heroin operation stretched far beyond Brooklyn, with investigators alleging that the ring also set up shop in Astoria, Prospect Heights, Ridgewood, and Staten Island. In an investigation that’s been ongoing since the top of the year, police pinpointed one suspect and gathered intel to build its case against the ring.

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The investigation began in January, with 25-year-old Josie Tavera emerging as the primary suspect along with several of his family members, including his mother, sister and brother. Others accused of involvement are 36-year-old Jason Collazo, an employee at Midtown Manhattan Community Court, and 37-year-old Michael Mineo, who studied substance abuse at the College of Staten Island and told police he was a drug counselor.

The heroin was sold under a variety of names, including “Knockout,” “Takeover,” “Power Hour,” “Killing Time,” “Pure,” “Gucci,” and “Scorpion.”

“There’s a growing heroin epidemic in New York and other parts of the country that’s taking the lives of many of our young people hooked on this deadly and highly-addictive drug,” DA Kenneth Thompson said in a statement. “We must deal with this quiet drug plague by going after those who peddle this poison in our communities.”

Of the 25 defendants, 22 were arrested yesterday, and one defendant is still being sought byt the NYPD. All have been charged with second degree conspiracy, and some are also charged with various degrees of criminal sale of a controlled substance, criminal possession of a controlled substance and fourth degree money laundering.

The New York Times writes that one resident remarked that the takedown of the ring “surprised” him while another individual said drugs have been easy to obtain in the neighborhood.

Photo: News 12

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