A.G. Schneiderman Announces Shutdown Of A Major East Coast Drug Distribution Network
'Operation Pipeline' Leads to 37 Indictments in Connection with Capital Region Drug Ring
Schneiderman’s Organized Crime Task Force, Albany Police Department, New York State Police, Schenectady Police Department Partner to Bust Illegal Drug Network
Schneiderman: This Investigation Shut Down a Major Pipeline of Illegal Drugs Coming into the Capital Region from Up and Down the East Coast
ALBANY– Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced the arrest and indictment of 37 individuals accused of taking part in a major drug distribution network that was funneling cocaine from New York City, Georgia, New Jersey and Pennsylvania throughout the Capital Region and elsewhere in New York.
"Drug traffickers destroy our communities and wreak havoc on families across the state," said Attorney General Schneiderman. "This investigation has shut down a major pipeline of illegal drugs coming into the Capital Region from up and down the east coast. I want to thank our partners in law enforcement - the Albany Police Department, the State Police and the Schenectady Police Department - for working with us to get deadly narcotics off the streets so they no longer infect our neighborhoods.”
As part of a multi-agency investigation code-named “Operation Pipeline,” 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 conducted a six-month long investigation that included undercover operations and hundreds of hours of covert surveillance and wiretaps. The investigation led to the seizure of more than 1 1/2 kilograms of cocaine with an estimated street value of $140,000.
Among those indicted was Ken Williams who is the network's narcotics source in
Atlanta, Georgia. According to the investigation, Williams met co-conspirator and step-brother, Norman Whitehead, in the parking lot of the Woodbury Commons Outlet complex in the lower Hudson Valley to furnish him with cocaine for distribution in Albany. Williams and Whitehead are two of the defendants charged with Operating as a Major Trafficker (§220.77 of the Penal Law of the State of New York), a penalty that went into effect as part of the changes to the Rockefeller-era drug laws and is the only felony narcotics charge in the state that carries a possible life sentence.
The investigation began after the Organized Crime Task Force received information about Manuel Valentin, of Schenectady, who was believed to have been trafficking large quantities of cocaine into the Capital Region. During the six month long operation, investigators learned who his contacts were and where his supplies were coming from.
Former City of Schenectady Public Works employee Richard Reohr was also indicted for allegedly distributing cocaine in Schenectady for Valentin while performing his snow plow route on city time.
Mayor of Albany Gerald D. Jennings, said, "This latest multi-agency investigation is another example of the success law enforcement can have when we utilize all of our resources to target those involved in transporting drugs into the Capital Region. Today’s arrests will hopefully put a significant dent in the area drug trade and make our neighborhoods safer for all of our residents to live in. I would like to congratulate Attorney General Schneiderman and all of the agencies involved that contributed to its success."
Albany Police Chief Steven Krokoff, said, "Today’s announcement that we have shut down a drug distribution network into the Capital District will hopefully send a message that we are committed to removing drugs from the streets of our neighborhoods and those who are involved in their distribution. I would like to thank the Attorney General’s Organized Crime Task Force, the New York State Police, Schenectady Police and the members of our department that worked collaboratively to ensure today’s success."
Acting Mayor of Schenectady Gary R. McCarthy, stated, “It is always good news when we remove drug dealers from our neighborhoods. I want to personally thank Attorney General Schneiderman for leading this effort in cooperation with our other partners in law enforcement. These efforts continue to make Schenectady and other communities safer for our law abiding citizens.”
New York State Police Superintendent Joseph A. D’Amico said, "I am grateful for the valuable partnership we have with the New York State Attorney General’s Organized Crime Task Force (OCTF), New York State Division of Parole, and US Marshal’s Service throughout the State, and the Albany and Schenectady Police Departments here in the Capital District. When we combine the knowledge, experience and resources of all our agencies we are able to pursue, develop and prosecute outstanding cases such as this.”
These indictments are the culmination of a major investigation and 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 indictment, which was unsealed today in Albany County Supreme Court, contains 178 counts, charges 37 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 narcotics trafficking operation. Six of the defendants, Russell Baggett, Ken Williams, 'John Doe' a.k.a. "Rivera-Baez," Manuel Valentin, Anthony Bucknor and Karashan Mansaray, are also charged with Operating as a Major Trafficker.
Those charged in the Albany County indictment, their date of birth and town of residence, are:
Anthony Bucknor (a.k.a. "Dewan")
James Dominic (a.k.a. "Jim Brown")
Carl Goodson (a.k.a. "Black")
Monifa Lee (a.k.a. "Nifa")
Sharon Lee (a.k.a. "Aunt Sharon")
Claude Long (a.k.a. "Dollar")
Karashan Mansaray (a.k.a. "Shan")
Kim Morman (a.k.a. "Aunt Kim")
Melissa Ogren (a.k.a. "Mel")
Bernard Thomas (a.k.a. "Thomas Bernard")
Lashon Turner (a.k.a. "Shotgun", a.k.a. "Shock")
Russell Bagget (a.k.a. "Bean")
Kenneth Williams (a.k.a. "Ken")
New York, NY
Ballston Spa, NY
Richard Coons (a.k.a. "Dickie")
Richard Reohr (a.k.a. "Ritchie")
Manuel Valentin (a.k.a. "Manny")
John Doe (a.k.a. "Rivera Baez")
New York, NY
The investigation was directed by OCTF Special Investigator Jeffrey Sauter under the supervision of Special Investigator William Charles, Albany Police Department Detective Brian Plante under the supervision of Sergeants Brian Quinn and Jeff Roberts, and NYSP Investigator Chris Douglas under the supervision of Senior Investigator Matthew Probst.
The case is being prosecuted by OCTF Assistant Deputy Attorneys General Michael Sharpe and Tiffinay Rutnik under the supervision of Deputy Attorney General of OCTF Peri Alyse Kadanoff.
Attorney General Schneiderman also wanted to thank the US Marshals Service for their assistance in today's arrests.
The charges against the defendants are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.