Attorney General Cuomo And State Police Announce Orange County Narcotics Sweep

NEWBURGH, N.Y. (November 12, 2009) - Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced narcotics trafficking and other charges have been filed in three indictments against 44 individuals accused of taking part in one or more of three separate drug distribution networks which were funneling large amounts of cocaine, illegal prescription medication, and marijuana into Orange County, as well as other parts of upstate New York.

According to court records, a joint investigation by the Attorney General’s Office and the New York State Police dubbed “Operation Burning Plant,” led to the seizure of approximately seven ounces of cocaine with an estimated street value of $10,000, 27 pounds of marijuana with an estimated street value of $172,000, 62 Vicodin pills and approximately $83,000 in cash. The cocaine was allegedly coming from the Dominican Republic, Florida, and the Bronx. The marijuana was allegedly coming from Arizona, Canada, and the Bronx, and prescription pills were allegedly stolen from a pharmacy by an employee.

“As a result of strong investigative work and cooperation across the law enforcement spectrum, this operation has dealt a blow to the illicit drug trade in Orange County,” said Attorney General Cuomo. “By working with our partners to deploy our drug fighting resources in a smart and efficient manner, we have cut off narcotics trafficking operations that allegedly spanned from the Hudson Valley across the country and over international boundaries.”

New York State Police Superintendent Harry J. Corbitt said, “The 149 State Troopers and Investigators dedicated to this morning’s raids demonstrate our commitment to this investigation. The primary targets of these indictments had insulated themselves well within the community which allowed them to avoid conventional street level narcotics enforcement for years. The volume of narcotics and currency seized is not indicative of the importance of these arrests. The investigative focus was on fully identifying these networks and dismantling them as opposed to making a one-time seizure.”

The first indictment charges 6 people with crimes including Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the First and Second Degrees (class A-I and A-II felonies), Conspiracy in the Second Degree (class B felony), and Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree (class B felony) for their alleged involvement in a cocaine trafficking ring that extended from Orange County and the Bronx, down to Florida, and to the Dominican Republic. According to court records, one of the alleged leaders of the cocaine distribution ring, Eirik Certo, 35, of Pompano Beach, Florida discussed over the phone that his source could get good, uncut cocaine from the “DR” (Dominican Republic). All defendants charged in the cocaine trafficking ring face a maximum of 1 to 20 years in state prison.

The second indictment charges 18 people with crimes including Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Third and Fourth Degrees (class B and C felonies), Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree (class B felony) and Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree (class E felony), for their alleged involvement in an illegal prescription medication trafficking ring that extended from Orange County to the Bronx. According to court records, one of the members of the alleged prescription medication distribution ring, Cintya Figueroa, 27, of Newburgh, allegedly stole pills from the pharmacy where she worked. The pills were allegedly taken when a shipment came in but before the pharmacy had inventoried the pills. Other defendants allegedly obtained pills by getting prescriptions filled. All defendants charged for their involvement in the illegal prescription medication trafficking ring face a maximum of 1½ to 12 years in state prison.

The third indictment charges 28 people with 87 counts including Criminal Possession of Marijuana in the First Degree (class C felony), Criminal Sale of Marijuana in the First Degree (class C felony) and Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree (class E felony) for their alleged involvement in a marijuana trafficking ring that extended from Orange County to Florida, Arizona and Canada. All defendants charged for their involvement in the marijuana trafficking ring face a maximum of 1½ to 8 years in state prison.

A fourth indictment resulting from the same investigation was unsealed in October and charges one defendant, Eirik Certo, with one count of Criminal Possession of Marijuana in the First Degree, a class C felony. Certo faces up to 5 ½ years in prison on that charge.

The three indictments unsealed today in Orange County Court, and the additional indictment unsealed last month, represent the culmination of a two-year investigation led by Attorney General Cuomo’s Organized Crime Task Force (OCTF), and New York State Police Special Investigations Unit (SIU) and Community Narcotics Enforcement Team (CNET). It is part of Cuomo’s efforts to combat narcotics trafficking and other crimes through his Upstate Guns, Gangs, and Drugs Initiative.

Numerous other agencies assisted in the investigation including: City of Newburgh Police Department, Town of Newburgh Police Department, Town of New Windsor Police Department, Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF), Orange County District Attorney’s Office, Dutchess County District Attorney’s Office, Orange County Probation, and Dutchess County Drug Enforcement Task Force. Attorney General Cuomo thanked and commended these agencies.

Since its inception in 2007, the Attorney General’s Upstate Guns, Gangs, and Drugs Initiative has conducted a variety of operations in cooperation with local, state, and federal authorities, resulting in charges against more than 360 defendants and the seizures of over $3.2 million in drugs and cash, as well as dozens of guns.

Those charged in the first Orange County indictment are:

  • Jerome Baptist, 53, of Broadway, C/Newburgh.
  • James Cannelli, 33, of Belknap St., C/Newburgh.
  • Eirik Certo, a/k/a “E”, 35, of Pompano Beach, Florida.
  • Damian Ciccarello, 33, of Rolling Ridge, New Windsor.
  • Pedro “Pete” Garcia, 31, originally from the Dominican Republic, recently of Croes Avenue, Bronx.
  • Joseph Root, 33, of Monarch Drive, T/Newburgh.

Those charged in the second Orange County indictment are:

  • Jerome Baptist, 53, of Broadway, C/Newburgh.
  • Charles Berlingieri, 38, of Teakettle Rd., Wallkill, N.Y.
  • James Cannelli, 33, of Belknap St., C/Newburgh.
  • Paul Cubito, 32, of West Street, Newburgh.
  • Greg Demilio, 40, of Ryerson Road, Warwick.
  • Robert Dickman, 48, of Dene Road, Newburgh.
  • Cintya Figueroa, 27, of Ellis Avenue, Newburgh
  • Charles Flood, a/k/a “Lelo”, 32, of Ridge Road, Campbell Hall
  • Donald Gordon, Jr., 39, of Main Street, Cornwall.
  • Adam Kooperman, 27, of Peter Avenue, Newburgh
  • Richard Kraus, 33, of Main St., C/Poughkeepsie.
  • Abra Macaluso, 26, of Hewitt Lane, New Windsor
  • Autumn Mosca, 31 of Crosby Ave., Bronx, N.Y.
  • Jeffrey Powell, 33, of Summitt Ridge Rd., T/Newburgh.
  • Joseph Root, 33, of Monarch Drive, T/Newburgh.
  • Jeneen Ross, 40, of Barclay Manor, T/Newburgh.
  • Joseph Rudd, a/k/a “Joseph Ruud”, 52, of Grove St., C/Newburgh.
  • Robert Sanchez, 43, of Pathway, Montgomery

Those charged in the third Orange County indictment are:

  • Dean Acevedo, 20, of Carpenter Avenue, Newburgh
  • >
  • Michael Acevedo, Jr., 28, of Carpenter Avenue, Newburgh
  • Jason Alisandrella, 29, of Monroe Street, C/Newburgh.
  • Derek Carney, 29, of Vails Gate Heights Drive, New Windsor.
  • Eirik Certo, a/k/a “E”, 35, of Pompano Beach, Florida.
  • Damian Ciccarello, 33, of Rolling Ridge, New Windsor.
  • Robert Corwin, 27, of Grove Court, T/Newburgh.
  • Paul Crawford, 28, of Trafalgar Road, New Windsor
  • Daniel Cronin, 26, of Dusty Rd., T/Newburgh.
  • Paul Cubito, 32, of West Street, Newburgh.
  • Carmine D’Agostino, 52, of Nantucket Drive, Fishkill.
  • Olympia “Lee” D’Agostino, 49, of Nantucket Drive, Fishkill.
  • Dennis Deyo, 30, of Red Hill Road, Claryville.
  • Sasha Horowitz, 26, of North Street, Pine Bush.
  • Joseph Kissel, 30, of Union Avenue, New Windsor.
  • Abra Macaluso, 26, of Hewitt Lane, New Windsor
  • Joseph Riley, 41, of Fostertown Road, Town of Newburgh.
  • Robert Riley, a/k/a “Double-R”, 45, of Roe St., C/Newburgh.
  • Joseph Root, 33, of Monarch Drive, T/Newburgh.
  • Morgan Secreto, 27, of New Road, T/Newburgh.
  • Stephanie Selementi, 23, of Monarch Drive, T/Newburgh.
  • Daniel Spotards, 28, of Campbell Dr., Wallkill.
  • Richard Stantial, 31, of Marshall Drive, Cornwall.
  • James Taylor, a/k/a “Tone”, 43 of Harbor Hill CT., Beacon.
  • Christopher Timmons, 25, of Mineral Springs Rd., Highland Mills.
  • Gerard Trotta, 28, of Union Ave., New Windsor.
  • Leon Vataj, a/k/a “Hotdog”, 40, of Trapping Way, Pleasantville.

The case is being prosecuted by OCTF Assistant Deputy Attorney General Michael Sharpe under the supervision of Executive Deputy Attorney General for Criminal Justice Robin L. Baker, and OCTF First Assistant Deputy Attorney General Peri Alyse Kadanoff. The investigation was conducted by Investigator Joseph Hafner, NYSP-SIU, and Investigator Joseph Candela, NYSP-CNET, under the supervision of Major Matthew S. Renneman, Detail Commander SIU, and Major John J. McCabe, Detail Commander CNET.

The charges against the defendants are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

 

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