Partner in NYC Mayor's Anti-Violence Initiative Busted in Gun and Drug Bust

Police walk through Times Square in New York City / Getty Images
August 2, 2023

The head of a New York City anti-violence group that partnered with Democratic mayor Eric Adams to curb violence was charged in a massive weapons and drug bust last week.

Michael Rodriguez, who heads a group called Bronx Rises Against Gun Violence, is facing drug and weapons charges after police found two illegal guns in his home in an upstate bust that took down 14 other suspects. He is accused of supplying drugs to dealers in cities outside of New York City for sale on the streets.

Rodriguez's group is one of several named in an initiative by Adams to lessen gun violence. The organization is listed in an overview of Adams's "Blueprint to End Gun Violence," which was published last year.

"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," Darcel Clark, Bronx district attorney, said.

Rodriguez's charges include first-degree possession of a controlled substance, second-degree conspiracy, and first-degree criminal possession of a weapon, according to the New York Post. 

His group said it is focused on its work while Rodriguez faces the charges.

"We are aware of the investigation and the charges that have been made," a spokesperson for BRAG said. "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."

Adams introduced another initiative this week, called the "Blueprint for Community Safety," that will dedicate $500 million toward stopping violence. The blueprint does not mention any plans to hire more police officers despite the city's struggles in maintaining its force numbers.

More officers left the NYPD in January and February than in any year’s first two months since a dispute over a contract in 2007, according to the New York Post.