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Cops nab dozens in SE Queens drug operation

(l.-r.) Senior Assistant District Attorney Julie Trivedi, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, Detective David Leonardi and Queens DA Richard Brown stand behind a table, where items including guns and drugs recovered during Operation South Side were displayed. Photo by Christina Santucci
TimesLedger Newspapers

His nickname was “The Ghost” and not even the people he worked with knew that his home was in Rochdale Village, police and prosecutors said.

“He had the uncanny ability to keep his associates in the dark. No one knew where he lived, what phone number he used, what car he drove,” Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said of 51-year-old James “Wall” Corley, who was among 45 people arrested as part of a 15-month investigation by the NYPD and the Queens DA’s office dubbed “Operation South Side.”

Officials said that of the 45 people arrested, more than a dozen people were allegedly leaders and members of two separate drug gangs that operated in southeast Queens.

In addition, the investigation resulted in the arrests of nearly 30 more people, who were charged with various narcotics-related offenses, officials said during a news conference at 1 Police Plaza.

The cousin of a young man murdered in South Jamaica Houses was also swept up and charged with weapons possession, the DA said.

Kelly said Corley got his start in southeast Queens as a member of the notorious “Supreme Team,” which operated during the crack epidemic of the 1980s.

Corley, who lives in Rochdale Village, allegedly led one drug gang that served customers in the South Jamaica Houses, the Baisley Houses, Rochdale Village and other neighborhoods in southeast Queens, the police commissioner said.

He was charged with criminal sale of a controlled substance, and police allegedly recovered cocaine, 10 vials of a common cocaine additive, 45 forged $5 bills and various drug paraphernalia during a search of his residence, authorities said.

Ten people, who authorities contended were members and associates of Corley’s crew, were among those arrested, investigators said.

Detective David Leonardi, from the NYPD’s Queens Gang Squad, described a coded language — “the supreme alphabet” — allegedly used by Corley’s group to quantify drugs and guns.

Police and prosecutors said members of a second drug gang called the South Side Bloods, which sold to customers in Baisley Gardens and other neighborhoods in southeast Queens, were also targeted in the Operation South Side investigation.

Authorities said 33-year-old Allen Mitchell, of South Jamaica, who was allegedly the drug supplier for the South Side Bloods, was arrested in January and charged with criminal sale of a controlled substance.

According to the Queens DA’s office, Mitchell, whose nickname is “Fat Boy,” pleaded guilty to criminal sale of a control substance in February and was sentenced to between 1 1/2 and three years in prison.

Investigators said four other men arrested, including one who allegedly was found in possession of two loaded guns, are also believed to be members of the South Side Bloods.

Operation South Side netted 1.5 kilos of cocaine, more than 50 decks of heroin, marijuana, about $70,000 and four handguns, and the two drug gangs grossed more than $15,000 per week, police and prosecutors said.

Several drug presses, which remove water or liquid from cocaine to make the bricks, were also recovered during the investigation, Kelly said. In addition, a cousin of murder victim Darryl Adams was arrested during the investigation and charged with an unrelated weapons possession charge after police said he was found with a Tech 9 submachine gun.

Authorities believe Donald Merritt, a cousin of Adams, who was shot and killed in the South Jamaica Houses in March, had planned to use the gun to get revenge for 18-year-old Adams’ death.

After Merritt was pulled over for allegedly failing to stop at a stop sign, police contend they found the large gun in the engine of the Nissan Altima he had been driving, according to the criminal complaint filed by the Queens district attorney’s office.

During the news conference, Kelly also pointed to the Supreme Team as responsible for the 1988 fatal shooting of NYPD Officer Edward Byrne, who was killed while sitting in his patrol car in South Jamaica.

“While Corley was not charged in the murder of Police Officer Byrne, generations of police officers will take no small satisfaction that an associate of his killer has been brought to justice,” Kelly said.

Police believe that with the arrest of Corley, the Supreme Team gang has been dismantled.

“We think this is the end of them,” Ryan said.

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DONALD & DARRYL'S UNCLE from SOUTHSIDE says:
I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW WTF DONALD MERRITT ARREST HAVE TO DO WITH CORLEY & THE DRUG RAID IN QUEENS. MY NEPHEW WAS ARRESTED MARCH 21st. WAY BEFORE THIS HAPPENED & NO HE WASN'T CARRYING THE GUN FOR REVENGE FOR HIS CUSIN DARRYL ADAMS - THE ONES THAT KILLED HIM WAS CAUGHT THAT NIGHT & THEY'RE CREW WAS CAUGHT RIGHT AFTER....GET YOUR FACTS RIGHT BEFORE YOU PRINT...
May 29, 2012, 4:20 pm
Marie from South jamaica says:
So glad NYPD is getting these bumbs off the streets. Good job Commisioner Kelly!!!!! Thank you.
May 29, 2012, 6:03 pm
ana from harlem says:
good job nypd
May 29, 2012, 9:41 pm
goodgirl says:
Iwall was such a nice guy and was kle the guy who looked like trey sonz omg he was go fine
May 29, 2012, 11:21 pm
goodgirl says:
Free wall
May 29, 2012, 11:22 pm
goodgirl says:
free wall
May 29, 2012, 11:23 pm
Marie from South Jamaica says:
They should start giving people life for these type of activities. To goodgirl, sorry baby but he won't be coming home any time soon. Lol
June 19, 2012, 10:53 am
Lite from South side says:
I know these dudes, don't be so quick to judge. The policeman there plant drugs, beat,and shoot innocent people. Free wall !!!
June 21, 2012, 7:07 pm
Marie from Jamaica says:
To Lite from Southside, people like the dudes you know, also terrorize the community and you people too, kill innocent people and you rob innocent people. You hang outside all day stalking people so you can victimize them and according to this article your friends crew was down with the murder of a police officer who was in his car patroling, a few years back. You people just think about the money you are making at all cost. Even if it means killing someone. They should start giving 5-10 years for carrying a weapon. Maybe then, the killings would stop. You people kill your own and your race is the only race in the USA, who kill each other the most. Pitiful! You think your tough using a gun and running the streets like animals. That's why Police Commisioner did a great job. These ppl are a danger to society and should be locked up. Good job NYPD!!!!!!!!!!!!!
June 22, 2012, 12:29 pm
Jane Doe from NY says:
Looks like the cops think these people were somehow connected with a police officer who was murdered years ago. With that said, homeboy "Wall" and his associates may never get out. Good luck going up against NYPD. They win no matter what. It's a losing battle!
June 24, 2012, 9:15 pm
Jay from NYC says:
Thank you Police Commissioner Kelly, for all the work and dedication you put into this case. I appreciate what you do to clean up NYC of these parasites who prey on the innocent. I hope someday soon, laws can be changed and more time added for a person possessing a firearm that's not licensed. I believe, if more jail time was given, maybe then, we can have peace and less murders.
June 27, 2012, 10:02 pm
BARRY from SE QUEENS says:
I KNOW THESE GUYS PERSONLY WE USED TO HANG OUT BUT TO MUCH FLAS WITH THE CASH I WOULD TELL THEM ALL THE TIME BUT THEY DIDNT LISTEN HOW RUSS ONLY GOT A YEAR SMELLS FISHY TO ME POOR PI AND ONESHOT THOSE ARE MY PEEPS NUT AND CHEDDER AND NUT WILL RAT ON THEM FOR A LIGHTER SENTENCE THEY MY BOYS BUT TRUHTH IS TRUTH HOPE THEY DONT RAT ON me
Aug. 15, 2012, 10:36 am
jose from southside says:
these guys just wanted to be providers there are guys 10 times worst walking around southside bloodthirsty and dangerous to society real killer mentality is bred here how many murders this year in just se queens alone and u bother these boys u lock up all the dealers but killers run around reckless now there are more killers than dealers some job n.y.p.d cops cant even protect themselves here cop shot 3 days ago the war on drugs is a joke it will never stop its about to be war out here this is the quiete before the storm food shortages no jobs no help the only thing here is drugs and guns living in a time bomb
Aug. 15, 2012, 10:49 am
pops from briarwood says:
James wall wasn't in the supreme team. He had his own organization.
Oct. 1, 2012, 10:48 pm
dontworry from queens says:
Crips and bloods must be abolished!!
Feb. 19, 2013, 4:46 pm
40 life from 40 says:
Free d
March 8, 2013, 4:34 pm
none of yours from queens says:
Aka: pops- that is something to be proud of! Right?
July 2, 2013, 9:52 am
kool e from hollis queens says:
Big shout to my homie wall.
Sept. 3, 11:15 pm

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