A.G. Schneiderman Announces 39 Arrests In Bust Of Statewide Cocaine Pipeline
In “Operation Southbound,” Narcotics Networks Transported Cocaine From NYC And Buffalo To Central New York And North Country
Three Million-Dollar Drug Networks Brought Down In Nine-Month Investigation
Schneiderman: Those Who Deal Dangerous Illegal Drugs And Poison Our Communities Will Be Brought To Justice
ONONDAGA – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced the arrests of 39 individuals and the seizure of more than one million dollars in cocaine as part of a takedown of three large scale drug distribution networks. The networks transported cocaine from the New York City metropolitan area and Buffalo to be sold in Cortland, Syracuse and Watertown. The Attorney General’s office conducted a series of raids early this morning and confiscated in excess of ten kilograms of cocaine and arrested the defendants.
As part of a nine-month, multi-agency investigation code-named “Operation Southbound,” state and local law enforcement agents led by the New York State Attorney General’s Organized Crime Task Force (OCTF), New York State Police, the Cortland County Sheriff's Department, the Syracuse Police Department, the Cortland City Police Department and SUNY Cortland Police conducted covert surveillance, including hundreds of hours of wiretaps and the execution of search warrants at several locations.
"These elaborate drug networks polluted our communities through a pipeline of illegal drugs that allowed traffickers to bring dangerous narcotics from New York City and Buffalo to Central and Northern New York. Operation Southbound put an end to this deadly drug distribution chain and now the perpetrators will be brought to justice,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “I applaud the work of our law enforcement team and our partners who spent countless hours working to get these drug dealers and distributors off the streets of New York State.”
The three separate indictments charge 39 individuals with crimes including Operating as a Major Trafficker, and various counts of Criminal Sale and Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance (class A and B felonies), and Conspiracy to commit those crimes. The Operating as a Major Trafficker statute (§220.77 of the Penal Law of the State of New York), was authored by Attorney General Schneiderman when he was a legislator. This law went into effect in November 2009 as part of reforms to the Rockefeller-era drug laws. It is the only felony narcotics charge in the state that carries a possible life sentence.
According to the three indictments unsealed in Cortland County Court today, investigators discovered three intertwined drug distribution networks that impacted the City of Cortland, Syracuse and neighboring communities. The investigation discovered the following:
- In the first network, investigators found that Rayshonn Hester was selling large amounts of cocaine to buyers in the City of Cortland. Investigators then uncovered a chain of suppliers and ultimately established that John Galan of Syracuse was supplying several middlemen – Jimmy Peña of the New York City area and Ricardo Martino-Serrano (a.k.a. Javier Ricardo or Muneco) of Syracuse – that were linked to Hester.
Several examples of police interaction with this network include:
- Police stopped Rayshonn Hester and Toshiro Scott as they traveled from Syracuse towards Cortland with 140 bags of cocaine destined for sale in Cortland.
- In another instance, investigators seized a kilogram of cocaine from Carlos Orta who was a cocaine reseller, after they watched Orta's source, John Galan place the cocaine in a Mercedes Benz that was owned and operated by Orta.
- In another instance, middleman Martino-Serrano arranged with supplier John Galan and middleman Jimmy Peña to obtain multiple kilograms of cocaine from a source in Bayonne, New Jersey (near New York City). But law enforcement officers in Bayonne, seized 351 kilograms of cocaine worth over $13 million dollars wholesale from Martino-Serrano's suppliers before their transaction was completed.
- In another instance, Martino-Serrano arranged for Galan and Peña to obtain 9 kilograms of cocaine from Oscar Morales in Buffalo and investigators were able to seize the cocaine.
The second network was led by Corey Grier of Cortland. Investigators ultimately identified Grier and Termaine Kirby as large cocaine distributors operating in Cortland County. Grier's cocaine pipeline originated from Kamar Davidson of Brooklyn.
Related to this network, the Attorney General’s investigation uncovered that:
- On April 10, 2012, Davidson sent Grier to the Fort Drum area in Jefferson County and directed him to sell seven ounces of cocaine to three separate individuals and provided him with a half ounce of cocaine as payment for his service. Grier brought the cocaine back to Cortland to sell.
The third network revolved around the activities of Andre Walker of Cortland who was also obtaining cocaine from Corey Grier - the same pipeline used by the second network - as well as through Raymond Williams and Shane Granger, which he distributed throughout the Cortland area. Police seized cocaine in vehicles being operated by Walker on two occasions as he traveled from the Syracuse area to Cortland.
New York State Police Superintendent Joseph A. D’Amico said, “Today’s indictments and arrests would not have been possible without the dedication, hard work and expertise of our many partners in law enforcement. This collaborative effort and subsequent arrests have taken-down a significant cocaine distribution operation plaguing central New York and will send a strong message that narcotics trafficking and the violence that is often associated with it, will not be tolerated in our communities. I thank all of our law enforcement colleagues for their never ending professionalism and their tremendous investigative efforts.”
Several agencies participated in the investigation in partnership with Attorney General Schneiderman’s OCTF, including the Cortland County Sheriff's Department, the Cortland County Drug Task Force, the City of Cortland Police Department, SUNY Cortland Police, the New York State Police, the Cortland County District Attorney's Office, the Onondaga County Sheriff's Department, the Onondaga County District Attorney's Office, the Syracuse Police Department, the Camillus Police Department, the Solvay Police Department, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Rochester Police Department, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, United States Parole, United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, Oswego City Police Department and the Oswego County Drug Task Force.
Those charged in today’s three indictments include:
DONALD ABRAMS - Syracuse NY
RAVAUGHN BAKER - Syracuse NY
LYLE CAMIGE - Felts Mills NY
TERRANCE CARTER - Syracuse NY
JOSEPH CROSSON - Cortland NY
KAMAR DAVIDSON - Brooklyn NY
ALEXANDER GALAN - Syracuse NY
JOHN GALAN - Syracuse NY
DANIELLE GARROW - Cortland NY
TAMARA GLOVER - Cortland NY
GERALDO GONZALEZ - Syracuse NY
SHANE GRANGER - Cortland NY
COREY D. GRIER - New York City
CORNELIUS HATHAWAY - Cortland NY
RAYSHONN HESTER - Currently in State Prison
DARREN HIGHTOWER - Syracuse NY
GAGE A HILL - Cortland NY
CHARLOTTE HOWARD - Cortland NY
TONY KING - Syracuse NY
TERMAINE KIRBY - Cortland NY
GEORGE MACON - Cortland NY
RICARDO MARTINO-SERRANO - Syracuse NY
OSCAR MORALES - Buffalo NY
DEBORAH OLIVA - Cortland NY
SANTOS OLIVER - Pitcher NY
CARLOS ORTA - Solvay NY
JIMMY PEŇA - Bronx NY
BILLY PRINGLE - Syracuse NY
TOSHIRO SCOTT - Syracuse NY
LISA SPECTOR - Cortland NY
GERRY LEE STEWART - Cortland NY
LISSETTE TEJEDA - Solvay NY
ANDRE WALKER - Cortland NY
RUSH WALTS - Evans Mills NY
KASSANDRA WHITNEY - Mexico NY
NADINE WILLIAMS - Syracuse NY
RAYMOND WILLIAMS - Syracuse NY
TERRANCE WILLIAMS - Syracuse NY
JESSICA WOODARD - Cortland NY
The investigation was conducted by OCTF Special Investigator William Elsenbeck and John MacConaghy of OCTF, under the supervision of Supervising Investigator Thomas M. Wolf and Eugene Black, Investigator/Sergeant Troy Boice, Investigator/Sergeant Todd Caufield, Captain Mark Helms and Sheriff Lee Price of the Cortland County Sheriff's Department, and Chief Michael Catalano of the City of Cortland Police Department.
The case is being prosecuted by OCTF Assistant Deputy Attorney General and Senior Investigative Counsel James J. Mindell, 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.