Twenty-two Arrested In Kingston Narcotics Sweep

New York State Attorney General Spitzer and Ulster County District Attorney Donald A. Williams today announced that a joint operation undertaken by the Attorney General’s Organized Crime Task Force (OCTF), the Ulster County District Attorney’s Office and the Kingston Police Department has resulted in the arrest of 22 persons on felony narcotics charges for allegedly selling cocaine.

The arrests took place during early morning raids carried out by 60 officers from the Kingston Police Department, and the OCTF that targeted the Henry Street corridor. In addition to those arrested this morning, two others are being sought pursuant to arrest warrants issued in the case.

The operation began in the Fall of 2004 when District Attorney Williams concerned about possible gang activity stemming from narcotics trafficking in mid-town Kingston, contacted the OCTF to share information about groups of narcotics traffickers establishing a drug distribution network with origins in New York City. Undercover officers established relationships within the network and began making drug purchases in December 2004. Over the next nine months, with the assistance of back-up teams of OCTF investigators and Kingston Police officers, OCTF’s undercover officers were able to infiltrate the drug groups and purchase crack cocaine on multiple occasions.

"Today’s sweep is not a one-day action, but rather the type of ongoing effort I believe is necessary to break drug distribution networks with in the state," Spitzer said. "I’m pleased to work with District Attorney Williams and local law enforcement to help break drug activity in Ulster and other counties."

"We are committed to employing all available resources to ensure that criminal organizations do not take root and flourish in this City," Williams said.

Williams praised Attorney General Spitzer for his commitment to assist this County in addressing serious local issues and the efforts of his Organized Crime Task Force and the Kingston Police Department for their diligence in the joint investigation.

Kingston Mayor James Sottile said: "I want to thank and praise Attorney General Spitzer for his willingness to work with local communities in helping us fight the drug problems we face. We cannot fight these criminals alone and it takes the cooperative effort of many agencies such as the Ulster County District Attorney’s office as well as the Kingston Police Department. This recent action will make Kingston’s streets safer and send a clear message that drug activity is not welcome in this community."

The following defendants were arrested today and charged with Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree, a class "B" felony punishable by up to 9 years in State prison:

Eugene Anderson, 23, Michael Bennett, 23, Lashawn Brickhouse, 17, John Carrion, 26, Ashlon Coleman, 17, Alton Davidson, 24, Damon Dunn, 28, Armand Ector, 26, Kevin Keaton, 24, Gregory Lee, 38, Michael Monsanto,17, Eric Moon, 16, Andrew Scott, 19, Richard Sosa, 32, Nathaniel Spencer,18, Phillip Spurgeon, 17, and James Streater, 43 all of Kingston; Clayton Greene, 32, of Connelly; Mario Herrara, 21, of Port Ewen; Jayson McCaster, 34, of Poughkeepsie and Curlie Stocks, 27, of Saugerties.

Additionally arrested today was a juvenile defendant. That case will be referred to Family Court.

Kingston City Court Judge Edward Feeney issued arrest warrants for Stephen Brookes, 32, of Kingston and Lamont Keaton, 26, of the Bronx.

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

The Ulster County District Attorney and OCTF have divided the cases for prosecution. OCTF’s cases will be prosecuted by Assistant Deputy Attorneys General John Dormin and Michael Sharpe, under the direction of Christopher Prather, Deputy Attorney General in charge of OCTF. Assistant District Attorney Julian Schreibman is prosecuting the cases for the Ulster County District Attorney’s Office. Additional assistance was provided by the Police Department of Ellenville, New York.