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NYPD: LI residents charged in Queens credit-card fraud scheme

A 15-month-long NYPD investigation into the manufacturing and selling of fraudulent credit cards led to the arrests of 16 suspected Bloods gang members and associates Wednesday in Queens, including two women and a man from Nassau, police said.

The arrests came as members of the NYPD Financial Crimes Task Force, Intelligence Bureau, Organized Crime Control Bureau-Asset Forfeiture Division, Detective-Bureau-Warrant Squad, Queens district attorney's office and the 105th Precinct in Queens Village executed five warrants -- recovering a loaded .40-caliber Glock pistol, two boxes of ammunition, six laptop computers and computer equipment, five hand-held skimming devices, two card readers, two embossers, three vehicles, fraudulent credit and gift cards, 41 marijuana plants, two 5-gallon containers of marijuana, high-intensity plant lights and $11,259 in cash.

Thirteen of the suspects are from Queens, the NYPD said.

The suspects from Nassau County were identified as: Avion Smith, 26, of 135 Clinton St., Hempstead; Deemy Balbuena, 20, of 52 Russell Place, Freeport; and Geovaunni Faucher, 21, of 82 Sussex Rd., Elmont. Smith was charged with two counts of grand larceny and two counts of possession of a forged instrument, and Balbuena was charged with grand larceny and possession of a forged instrument.

Faucher was charged with 32 counts of possession of a forged instrument, 32 counts of unlawful possession of a personal ID and fifth-degree criminal possession of marijuana.

Arraignment details were not immediately available.

Police said the investigation was opened in April 2014 and that investigators "determined that the subjects involved were manufacturing and selling fraudulent credit cards."

Police said the investigation also revealed "the involvement of several identified Blood gang members and their associates also operating in and around the confines of the 105th Precinct." All of the suspects are in their 20s.

The arrest locations were not detailed by the NYPD.

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