A.G. Schneiderman Announces 38 Arrests In Central New York Drug Trafficking Takedown
AG’s Organized Crime Task Force Dismantles Two Narcotics Networks Running From Georgia To NYC To Syracuse
Investigators Seize More Than $200,000 In Cocaine To Be Distributed Throughout Central NY
SYRACUSE – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced that 38 individuals have been charged for their connection to two drug networks responsible for distributing cocaine throughout Central New York. The arrests and seizure of more than $200,000 in cocaine has helped to shut down a drug pipeline running from Georgia to New York City to Syracuse and Auburn for sale throughout the region.
The indictments are the latest in a series of major enforcement actions led by Attorney General Schneiderman’s Organized Crime Task Force (OCTF), and are part of his efforts to combat large-scale narcotics trafficking and related crimes. In the last year, the Attorney General announced large-scale takedowns in the Buffalo, Rochester, and Capital Regions.
“My office will continue to crack down on those seeking to foster and feed devastating addiction, and these actions should send a clear message that these narcotics rings will be stopped,” Attorney General Schneiderman said. “I want to thank my Organized Crime Task Force and our law enforcement partners for their work to protect our neighborhoods and to hold accountable those who seek to profit off their destruction.”
The Attorney General’s OCTF led the dual-investigations code named “Operation Rockwell” and “Operation Re-Do,” which relied on covert physical surveillance and wiretaps. The year-long investigations were conducted in cooperation with the New York State Police, Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick, Cayuga County District Attorney Jon Budelmann and other local law enforcement officials.
New York State Police Superintendent Joseph A. D’Amico said, “Our partnership with the New York State Attorney General’s Organized Crime Task Force (OCTF) continues to prove its value with outstanding cases such as this. Recognition and thanks go to our local and federal partners with support from troopers and investigators from Troop E.”
Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick said, "This investigation demonstrates how cooperation, collaboration and teamwork amongst law enforcement agencies yields successful results. Our joint cooperative efforts with the Attorney General's Office and OCTF have a long history and we are proud and pleased to now be working together with AG Schneiderman."
Cayuga County District Attorney Jon E. Budelmann said, "We are pleased to be partnering with the Attorney General’s Office and the Police to address this important public safety issue. The sale of illegal narcotics is not a victimless crime. Illicit drug activity results in thefts, violence and countless other crimes affecting our entire community. And of course, this poison causes untold pain and suffering for the addicts and those who care about and depend upon them. By attacking the supply of drugs, we limit their availability and can begin to address the devastating, long lasting effects of illegal narcotics."
Operation Rockwell resulted in a 63-count indictment charging 21 individuals and a 5-count indictment charging 4 individuals, both of which were unsealed in Onondaga County Supreme Court. The charges against those 21 individuals include various counts of Criminal Sale and Possession of a Controlled Substance and Conspiracy to commit those crimes. The defendants are also charged with Operating as a Major Trafficker, a felony Attorney General Schneiderman authored as a lawmaker and which went into effect as part of the Rockefeller-era drug laws. It is the only felony narcotics charge in the state that carries a possible life sentence.
Operation Re-do resulted in a 98-count indictment charging 13 individuals, which was unsealed in Cayuga County Supreme Court and charges individuals with various counts of Criminal Sale and Possession of a Controlled Substance (class A and B felonies), and Conspiracy to commit those crimes.
Several other agencies participated in the investigation including: Syracuse Police Department, Cortland County Sheriff's Department, Cayuga County Sheriff's Department, Auburn Police Department, Fingerlakes Drug Task Force, Drug Enforcement Administration, Solvay Police Department, the Community Narcotics Enforcement Teams (C-NET), Onondaga County Sheriff's Department, Camillus Police Department, and DeKalb County Police Department in Georgia.
Those charged in the 63-count Onondaga County indictment are:
1. MATTHEW BENJAMIN, 28, Cortland
2. CARZELL BROWN, 31, Syracuse
3. WILLIE CALDWELL, 46, Syracuse
4. EARL CANNADY, 55, Syracuse
5. DEBORAH COOPER, 57, Syracuse
6. XAVIER CRAWFORD, 24, Syracuse
7. SHONDELL DAYS, 35, Syracuse
8. IRA KEITH DELEE, 45, Syracuse
9. RASHON DELEE, 26, Syracuse
10. STEPHANIE FINK, 36, Cortland
11. JAQUAN FULTON, 19, Syracuse
12. DEURICE HARRIS, 38, Syracuse
13. RAJSEAN JONES, 32, Syracuse
14. LUTHER JUDGE, 40, Syracuse
15. ELVONUS MEDRICK, 39, Cortland
16. KEVIN PULLEY, 31, Syracuse
17. RONALD ROBINSON, 30, Syracuse
18. ALISHA SELMON, 25, Syracuse
19. EDDIE THOMAS, 35, Syracuse
20. ANTHONY WALKER, 32, Syracuse
21. MARVIS WILLIAMS, 51, Syracuse
Those charged in the 5-count Onondaga County indictment are:
1. CARL CRAWFORD, 39, Atlanta, GA
2. DRACY MCDONALD, 40, Syracuse
3. BOB SAFFOLD, JR, 71, Syracuse
4. KENNETH WILLIAMS, 40, Lithonia, GA
Those charged in the 98-count Cayuga County indictment are:
1. CHARLES BAKER, 37, Auburn
2. GREGORY BATES, 37, Auburn
3. DAIQUAN BOWMAN, 28, Syracuse
4. NATHANIEL COSBY, 37, Syracuse
5. MATTHEW GAUTHIER, 28, Auburn
6. OLUSEGUN GBENGBE, 34, Syracuse
7. RODNEY JONES, 35, Canandaigua
8. THOMAS MARTIN, 35, Rochester
9. JOHN MOULTON, 37, Auburn
10. CHRISTOPHER MURRAY, 36, Syracuse
11. LEWIS SMITH, 31, Auburn
12. SHANE STOKES, 41, Auburn
13. LAMAR WILLIAMS, 35, Syracuse
The charges against the defendants are accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.
The investigations were conducted by OCTF Investigator William Elsenbeck and Auburn Police Department Lt. Roger Anthony, under the supervision of Supervising Investigator Thomas M. Wolf and Eugene Black.
The cases are being prosecuted by OCTF Assistant Deputy Attorneys General Irene S. Bardot, Maria Moran and Assistant Deputy Attorney General and Senior Investigative Counsel James J. Mindell, under the supervision of OCTF Deputy Attorney General Peri Alyse Kadanoff.