Reputed Peekskill drug kingpin to face murder charges

A reputed Peekskill drug kingpin is slated to face federal murder charges following the takedown of his alleged operation by police.

On March 1, 2004, Peekskill and county police in conjunction with federal drug enforcement agents began rounding up 87 suspected drug traffickers in what was called Operation Big Dog. Now, an alleged leader of what was called the Barnes Brothers Organization is about to go on trial for his life. Khalid Barnes, of Peekskill, and his brothers were allegedly a major source of drugs to the area for years. Barnes could face a federal death penalty if found guilty of two murders from 2004.

There were other deaths allegedly tied to the gang's activity. According to police, on September 11, 2001, innocent bystander Tasha Murray was killed in a gun battle allegedly started as an attempted hit. Federal prosecutors claim the hit was planned by leaders of the Barnes Brothers Organization.

While police in Peekskill consider the Operation Big Dog case to be a major success, they admit drug trafficking continues. However, Police Chief Eugene Tumolo says the arrests send a clear message to criminals.

"Everyone thought that these people were invincible, but they weren't," says Tumolo.

The trial against Barnes is expected to begin within a week.

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