The investigation that led to the indictments began after May 31 last year, when an innocent 11-year-old girl named Taylonni Mazyck was shot in front of her home at 600 Gates Avenue and was paralyzed.
Mazyck was sitting with her mother and cousins when she was struck by one of ten bullets shot by Kane Cooper, who was allegedly firing at members of the Gates Avenue Mafia halfway down the block.
The police had received 300 complaints for the building at 600 Gates Ave. — which lies in the 79th Precinct — over the past couple of years, and with the shooting of Mazyck, they decided to take action.
“All shootings matter to us in law enforcement, but when an 11-year-old innocent girl gets shot, it means a little more,” Deputy Chief Kevin Catalina said. “And when this incident occurred, we collectively got together with the District Attorney’s office and said, ‘We have to find a way to stop the violence.’”
Detectives discovered drug and firearm trafficking throughout Bed-Stuy, and were then led up to Gloversville, near Albany, where eight reputed members of the Gates Avenue Mafia allegedly ran a crack operation.
The mafia members would take the drugs to Gloversville by Greyhound bus twice a month, because they could make a better profit selling the drugs upstate.
Defendant Rasheen Behlin, a member of the Gates Avenue Mafia, was also charged for second-degree attempted murder.
On April 29 of this year, Behlin and two other men broke into the apartment of one of their customers in Gloversville. They duct-taped two men, beat them with hammers and broke their knees and ankles and then shot a victim in the face through a couch cushion.
The next day, during a raid, Gloversville police recovered 100 grams of cocaine, worth about $5,700.
Throughout the investigation, detectives recovered a total of 29 guns, large quantities of narcotics and $24,000 in cash.
When the indictments were announced last week, all but seven of the 32 defendants had been arrested.
“We are determined to reclaim our streets, because our streets don’t belong to thugs, they don’t belong to gang members, they belong to the people of Brooklyn,” District Attorney Thompson said.