The director of a New York City (NYC) anti-violence program was among 15 suspects charged in an upstate drug and gun bust, officials said Tuesday.
The director of Bronx Rises Against Gun Violence (BRAG), 48-year-old Michael Rodriguez, stands accused of supplying drugs to dealers in Middletown and Port Jervis for distribution on the streets after a raid of his Yonkers home, The New York Post reported, citing the Orange County District Attorney’s office.
Subject: “Violence Interrupter” groups.
Michael Rodriguez, 48, head of Bronx Rises Against Gun Violence (BRAG), was among 15 suspects charged in a drug conspiracy case in Orange County, NY.
He is accused of supplying drugs to dealers… pic.twitter.com/TdVo5W0QGt
— Crime in NYC (@CrimeInNYC) August 2, 2023
The raid of Rodriguez’s home allegedly produced drugs two illegal guns and more than $165,000 worth in cash and came after a two-year investigation, the outlet stated.
“The allegations of drug trafficking and gun possession against Michael Rodriguez are shocking and disturbing, especially since he has attended anti-violence events and peace marches portraying himself as someone who cares about stopping the violence in our community These charges are the exact opposite of the good work cure violence groups are doing,” Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark stated Tuesday, according to the New York Post.
Orange County District Attorney David Hoovler found the charges against Rodriguez “ironic,” given his position. “So, the very guy that we have that is supposed to be stopping gun violence in one jurisdiction in New York City, is poisoning our jurisdiction up here,” he stated, according to Mid Hudson News. (RELATED: Police Union Director Charged With Smuggling Fentanyl To The US)
A spokesperson for BRAG told the New York Post they were aware of the charges against Rodriguez but were focusing their attention on “the communities [they] serve and [the] programs that are helping to keep them safe.”
Rodriguez has been charged with first-degree possession of a controlled substance, second-degree conspiracy and first-degree criminal possession of a weapon, the New York Post reported.