12/07/2005

Alleged NY drug leader shot to death by cops

By LAUREN ELKIES, Staff Reporter of the Sun

Copyright 2005 The New York Sun, One SL, LLC
All Rights Reserved

A man who was alleged to be the leader of a million-dollar drug ring was shot to death in his Bronx home after firing at two state troopers, law enforcement officials said.

The shootout occurred during the execution of more than 20 search warrants in the Bronx and Westchester yesterday following a 10-month investigation into drug trafficking, the Westchester district attorney's office said. Sixteen people were arrested yesterday and others were taken into custody during the course of the investigation.

Just after 6 a.m. yesterday, Trooper Peter Verdes, 38, and Trooper Mark Ennis, 34, entered Michael Londonio's home on Revere Street in pursuit of guns and narcotics. Londondio, 29, allegedly shot Trooper Verdes in the leg and Trooper Ennis in his bulletproof vest and helmet. Londonio apparently lived with his parents, and his father may have legally owned the weapon used to shoot the officers, law enforcement sources said. The officers returned fire, killing Londonio, police said.

Trooper Verdes was in stable condition at Jacobi Medical Center in the

Bronx, and Trooper Ennis was treated and released.

Police said they recovered several firearms and at least one hand grenade at Londonio's home.

The cocaine ring was called Drug Fellas, and investigators estimated that in the last five months the ring brought in millions of dollars.

Three key players in the drug operation, Joseph Lanza, 29, Mark Fiore, 22, and John Tomero, 31, were charged with criminal sale of a controlled substance and criminal possession of a controlled substance.

One man arrested yesterday, Michael Gray, 42, is a Westchester County corrections officer. He was charged with criminal sale of a controlled substance and promoting prison contraband.

Federal authorities are also charging another three men apprehended at one point during the investigation which took the better part of a year. The D.A.'s office, the state police, and several other law enforcement agencies conducted the investigation, and they anticipate more arrests will be made. 
 
December 7, 2005

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