PAIGE ROUX: Anti-gun group leader in NYC arrested for illegal possession of weapons, ties to drug ring operation
The leader of an anti-gun violence group in New York City has been arrested for possession of illegal weapons and alleged ties to a major drug ring operation.
Michael Rodriguez, the director of Bronx Rises Against Gun Violence (BRAG), was arrested after authorities searched his home and found illicit drugs, substantial sums of cash, and illegal firearms. Rodriguez was subsequently placed under arrest and is currently in custody at Orange County Jail.
Orange County District Attorney David Hoovler pointed out the absurd hypocrisy of Rodriguez’s actions.
“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.” Hoovler said.
In the past, BRAG has garnered praise from public officials for its attempted efforts to reduce gun violence in the city of New York. Mayor Eric Adams featured the organization in his “Blueprint to End Gun Violence” program, recognizing it as a significant community partner. BRAG has also received public funding to support its initiatives.
Bronx County District Attorney Darcel Clark publicly condemned Rodriguez’s alleged actions, stating that they do not reflect the integrity of gun-violence groups in the city.
“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,” Clark stated. “These charges are the exact opposite of the good work cure violence groups are doing.”
The charges against Rodriguez include first-degree possession of a controlled substance, second-degree conspiracy, and first-degree criminal possession of a weapon.
A spokesperson for BRAG stated that the organization is aware of the charges brought forward toward their executive director, but will continue to perform work that combats gun violence in the city.
“While we work to learn more, our primary focus remains on the communities we serve and our programs that are helping to keep them safe,” the organization spokesperson said.