A.G. Schneiderman Announces 31 Charged In Statewide Cocaine Distribution Ring, Two Charged In Murder Plot

“Operation North Star” Crackdown Leads To 226-Count Indictment

Schneiderman: Our Investigation Has Removed These Violent Narcotics Dealers And Distributors From Our Communities

 

ALBANY - Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced a multi-agency narcotics crackdown that led to a 226-count indictment charging 31 defendants with distributing large quantities of cocaine throughout the Capital Region, including Albany, Schenectady and Rensselaer Counties, which they imported from New York City. Two of the defendants have also been charged with conspiracy to commit murder after wiretaps uncovered a murder plot.

"These networks created a pipeline of illegal drugs from New York City to the Capital Region that polluted our communities. Operation North Star shut down this massive criminal enterprise and stopped the flow of these dangerous narcotics,” said Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. “Because of the hard work of my office’s investigators, along with the State Police and Albany Police, we have gotten these violent drug dealers and distributors off the streets and into custody.”

As part of an operation code-named "Operation North Star," state and local law enforcement agents led by the New York State Attorney General's Organized Crime Task Force (OCTF), the Albany Police Department and the New York State Police, concluded an eleven-month investigation into this drug network that was conducting illicit activities on the streets of the Capital Region. During the investigation, police seized 1,982 grams of cocaine with an approximate street value of $200,000, more than $100,000 in cash that was generated through cocaine trafficking, three vehicles, a bulletproof vest, and a hand gun which were to be used in an imminent murder.

The handgun was seized as part of an effort on the part of the Attorney General’s Office, in conjunction with its other law enforcement partners, to thwart a plot to commit murder. As part of the 226 Count Indictment, Defendants Emerald Cancer, a/k/a "Sis,” a/k/a "Emmy,” a/k/a "E,” and Rondell Jackson, a/k/a "Diggity,” are alleged to have conspired to lure the intended victim of the murder plot, Santonieo Miller, Jr., a/k/a "Cool,” to a secluded location in order to shoot him. It is alleged that defendants Cancer and Jackson were intercepted over wiretapped telephone calls telling Miller to meet them at the secluded location. To get Miller to this location, he was told the meeting was to rob a third party. It is believed that the motive for the plot to kill Miller was drug related. Attorney General Schneiderman indicated that members of law enforcement were able to stop the murder, and to recover the gloves and the gun from the hiding place where the defendant had stashed it.

“I applaud Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, the New York State Police, and the Albany Police Department for their hard work in taking down a massive drug ring which resulted in a 226-count indictment,” said Albany Mayor Gerald D. Jennings. “Today, the Capital Region is a safer place because of this teamwork, and I commend everyone involved with this case for their unwavering dedication and support of public safety in New York State’s Capital City.”

"This investigation is yet another example of law enforcement partners working collaboratively to get drugs and dealers off our streets," Joseph A. D'Amico, New York State Police Superintendent said"The expertise and dedication of our law enforcement colleagues not only prevented a murder from taking place; it prevented dangerous drugs from getting into our communities. The State Police remain committed to continue these partnerships with the Attorney General’s office and local police agencies to send a clear message that this type of illegal activity will not be tolerated. I thank all of our law enforcement partners for their hard work, professionalism and commitment to making our communities safer."

In addition to the conspiracy to commit murder, the indictment, which was unsealed today in Albany County Court, contains 226 counts, and charges 31 people with various Criminal Sale and Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance (class A, B, C, D felonies) and Conspiracy in the second degree (class B felony) in relation to their involvement in the cocaine trafficking network. One of the defendants, Andrew Smith, a/k/a "My Boy,” a/k/a "World Boss,” a/k/a "Gringo,” is charged with Operating as a Major Trafficker, which carries the potential of a life sentence.

This massive take down and indictment is the culmination of a major investigation which is part of Attorney General Schneiderman's ongoing efforts to combat narcotic trafficking and other crimes through OCTF's Upstate Guns, Gangs, and Drugs Initiative. 

The Attorney General's indictment contains 226 counts, and charged the following 31 people with different crimes in relation to their involvement in the cocaine trafficking operation, including:

  1.   Andrew Smith, a/k/a "My Boy,” a/k/a "World Boss,” a/k/a "Gringo”
       26 years old
      Schenectady, NY

Additional Defendants:

  1.    Luann Bennett, a/k/a "Ma"
       51 years old
       Albany, NY

2.      Sean Bennett, a/k/a "S-Dot"
         28 years old
         Albany, NY

3.      Nailon Blair, a/k/a "Nace"
         36 years old
         Schenectady, NY

4.      Lequanda Bozeman, a/k/a "Scar"
         29 years old
         Albany, NY

5.      Shaquel Brown, a/k/a "Boogie"
         29 years old
         Albany, NY

6.      Emerald Cancer, a/k/a "Sis,” a/k/a "Emmy,” a/k/a "E"
         31 years old
         Albany, NY

7.      Latoya Cancer, a/k/a "Chops"
         33 years old
         Albany, NY

8.      Henry Crawford
         25 years old
         Albany, NY

9.      David Crowley, a/k/a "Rugs,” a/k/a "D-Rugs,” a/k/a "Dave"
         26 years old
         Albany, NY

10.    Luisa Cuesta
         49 years old
         Rensselaer, NY

11.     Karnell Gordon, a/k/a "Aff,” a/k/a "Blacks"
         27 years old
         Albany, NY

12.    Derick Harris, a/k/a "Boo"
         35 years old
         Albany, NY

13.    Kareem Hood, a/k/a "Barrie,” a/k/a “G"
         23 years old
         East Greenbush, NY

14.    Joshua Hunter
         34 years old
         Schenectady, NY

15.    Rondell Jackson, a/k/a "Diggity"
         33 years old
         Albany, NY

16.    Tony Jefferson
         58 years old
         Albany, NY

17.    Demetris King
         26 years old
         Albany, NY

18.    Norman Lewis, a/k/a "Reese"
         33 years old
         Albany, NY

19.    Sandra Matos, a/k/a "Sandy,” a/k/a "Candy"
         43 years old
         Albany, NY

20.   Ishmael McCarthy, a/k/a "Black,” a/k/a "Mad Black,” a/k/a "Ish"
         24 years old
         Albany, NY

21.    Shamel McCarthy, a/k/a "Belly"
         20 years old
         Albany, NY

22.    Ameek Nixon
         27 years old
         Albany, NY

23.    Tashon Robertson
         22 years old
         Troy, NY

24.    Shakir Redmon
         31 years old
         Albany, NY

25.    Kode Sealey, a/k/a "Monster"
         29 years old
         Albany, NY

26.    Leequan Thomas, a/k/a "Quan"
         17 years old
         Albany, NY

27.    Walter Turner, Jr., a/k/a "Smooth"
         43 years old
         Albany, NY

28.   Shawn Ubrich
         40 years old
         Delmar, NY

29.    Errol Williams, a/k/a "Brody,” a/k/a "E"
         22 years old
         Albany, NY

30.   Dasean Willis, a/k/a "Killa,” a/k/a "Kane," a/k/a "P"
         29 years old
         Albany, NY

The charges contained in the indictment are the result of an eleven-month joint investigation by the OCTF, Albany Police Department, the New York State Police and Homeland Security Investigations, with the assistance of the NY National Guard Counterdrug Task Force, the United States Marshals Service, Rensselaer County Task Force, and City of Troy Police Department.

The investigation was directed by OCTF Special Investigator Dennis Guiry under the supervision of Special Investigator William Charles, and Deputy Chief Investigator, Gene Black, under the supervision of Chief Dominick Zarrella. The Albany Police Department Detective Brian Plante, under the supervision of Lt. Jeff Roberts, Commander Anthony Ryan, and Chief of Police Steven Krokoff, and New York State Police Senior Investigator Samuel Mercado, under the supervision of Lt. Michael Tietz.

The case is being prosecuted by OCTF Assistant Deputy Attorney General Tiffinay Rutnik, under the supervision of OCTF Deputy Attorney General Peri Alyse Kadanoff and Executive Deputy Attorney General for Criminal Justice Kelly Donovan.

The charges against the defendants are accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in a court of law. 

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