Attorney General Cuomo Announces 24 Individuals Charged In Syracuse-area Narcotics Sweep

SYRACUSE, NY (September 29, 2009) - Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that narcotics trafficking charges have been filed against 24 individuals who are alleged to have been involved in drug distribution networks in and around the Syracuse area. These indictments are the result of an investigation known as “Operation Trump” conducted by the Attorney General’s Organized Crime Task Force (OCTF) with assistance from the New York State Police Community Narcotics Enforcement Team, the Syracuse Police Department, the Onondaga County District Attorney’s Office, and numerous other law enforcement agencies.

During the course of the investigation, over 4-1/2 kilograms of cocaine with a street value of approximately $320,000, two handguns, a car used for smuggling drugs, and close to $9,800 in cash were seized. The individuals are being prosecuted on three separate indictments. The name “Operation Trump” is derived from the street in the Village of Solvay where many of the drugs were allegedly sold. The investigation is part of Attorney General Cuomo’s ongoing efforts to combat narcotics trafficking and other crimes through his Upstate Guns, Gangs, and Drugs Initiative.

According to court proceedings, drugs from New York City were brought Upstate stashed in cars, including being hidden in the engine compartment. One of the leading suppliers of the Upstate distribution networks was Edwin Rodriguez-O'Farrill a/k/a Ernesto Jerez-Gomez (the Messiah) of New Jersey. He is currently serving 7 years in prison after pleading guilty to Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance earlier this year in a case brought by OCTF.

“These arrests demonstrate that partnering with all levels of law enforcement is the most effective way to deploy our drug fighting resources,” said Attorney General Cuomo. “This operation succeeded in getting hundreds of thousands of dollars of cocaine off the streets of Syracuse and Central New York. Today’s announcement is the result of thousands of hours of physical and electronic surveillance, and should send a strong message that we will do what it takes to shut down the flow of illegal narcotics.”

“Today's arrests are the result of a coordinated effort at all levels of law enforcement and have taken substantial amounts of deadly drugs out of Onondaga County and Central New York," said Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick. "Time and time again, this attorney general has demonstrated that he understands how the influx of dangerous drugs adversely impacts our local communities and why we need to use a multi-faceted approach to combat the drug trade.”

“Keeping illegal narcotics away from our city and surrounding communities, as well as the secondary affects that always come with drug trafficking such as violent crimes, is one of the most important issues facing public officials,” said Syracuse Mayor Matt Driscoll. “I thank Attorney General Cuomo for recognizing the need for combating the influx of drugs into Upstate New York and we will continue to work with him and other law enforcement agencies in the future.”

The first indictment charges five defendants. Four are charged with Conspiracy and Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in addition to other charges and one defendant is charged with Criminal Facilitation. Approximately eight ounces of cocaine was recovered from this cocaine distribution network. The second indictment charges five defendants with Conspiracy and Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in addition to other charges. Approximately one kilogram of cocaine was recovered from this cocaine distribution network. The third indictment charges fifteen defendants. Thirteen are charged with Conspiracy and other charges, while two are charged with Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance or attempt thereof. Over three kilograms of cocaine was recovered from this cocaine distribution network.

If found guilty, first time drug offenders convicted of an A-II level felony face a maximum penalty of 20 years, first time drug offenders convicted of an A-II level felony face a maximum penalty of 10 years, first time drug offenders convicted of a B level felony face a maximum penalty of 9 years.

Those indicted in the first indictment and their alleged roles are:

  • James Anderson, 26, of Trump Street, Solvay; purchased cocaine from Errol Brown and distributed it Baubak Gholipour-Abbasi, Steven Baitsell, and others
  • Steven Baitsell, 24, of East 9th Street, Oswego; obtained cocaine from Anderson to sell to Gholipour-Abbasi and others
  • Errol Brown, 27, of Grumbach Street, Syracuse, and Culbert Street, New York City; main cocaine supplier for Anderson and others
  • Baubak Gholipour-Abbasi, 25, of O’Connor Road, Oswego; obtained cocaine from Anderson and Baitsell and then sold it to others
  • Carl Noeller, 28, of Barre Road, Hubbardston, MA; procure cocaine from Anderson for sale to others

Those indicted in the second indictment and their alleged roles are:

  • Antonio Diaz-Paulino, 44, of Elm Street, Syracuse; main cocaine supplier for Johnny Seymour, Clary Felder, Cynthia Ellison, Vincent Odjick
  • Cynthia Ellison, 49, of Salt Springs Road, Syracuse; purchased cocaine from Diaz-Paulino then sold it to others
  • Johnny Seymour, 55, of Smith Street; purchased cocaine from Diaz-Paulino and Clary Felder then sold it to others
  • Clary Felder, 45, of Hall Avenue and West Corning Avenue, Syracuse; purchased cocaine from Diaz-Paulino and Seymour then sold it to others
  • Vincent Odjick, 38, of Chateau Lane, Clay, and West Colvin Street Syracuse; purchased cocaine from Diaz-Paulino then sold it to others

Those indicted in the third indictment and their alleged roles are:

  • Alixandro Mercedes, 34, of Hazard Street, Solvay; distribute and receive cocaine from Juan Gonzalez, Domingo Peguero, Jeorgen Martinez, Jose Delacruz, and Jonathan Pinet
  • Juan Gonzalez, 25, of Maryland Lane, Liverpool; main supplier of cocaine; distribute and procure cocaine to and from Mercedes and Domingo Peguero; procure cocaine from Edwin Rodriguez-Ofarrill a/k/a Ernesto Jerez-Gomez, and sell cocaine to Miguel Valdez-Alvarez, Jonathan Pinet, and Michael Kaigler
  • Errol Brown, 27, of Grumbach Street, Syracuse, and Culbert Street, New York City; supplied cocaine to Jose Delacruz
  • Domingo Peguero, 37, of Avery Avenue, Syracuse; distribute and procure cocaine to and from Mercedes and Gonzalez
  • Michael Kaigler, 28, of Ball Road and Dakin Street, Syracuse; procure cocaine from Gonzalez for sale to others
  • Jeorgen Martinez, 58, of Mathers Street, Syracuse; procure cocaine from Mercedes for sale to others
  • Jose Delacruz, 36, of Richmond Avenue, Syracuse; procure cocaine from Mercedes for distribution to Brian Bell, Robert Balantic, and others
  • Brian Bell, 25, of Merrill Creek Road, Marathon; procured cocaine from Delacruz for distribution to Balantic and others
  • Robert Balantic, 40, of Owego Hill Road, Hartford; procured cocaine from Brian Bell
  • Jonathan Pinet, 28, of Shannard Street, Coolidge Avenue, and Gordon Parkway, Syracuse; procure cocaine from Mercedes and Gonzalez for distribution to Vincent Ryder, Kelly Beyor, Eric Latray, and others
  • Vincent Ryder, 34, of US Route 113, Central Square; procured cocaine from Pinet for distribution to others
  • Kelly Beyor, 41, of Pattison Street, Syracuse; procure cocaine from Pinet for distribution to others
  • Eric Latray, 30, or Park Street, Syracuse, procure cocaine from Pinet for distribution to others
  • Miguel Valdez-Alvarez, 52, of East Malloy Road, Mattydale; procure cocaine from Juan Gonzalez for distribution to others.
  • Adalberto Morales, 24, of Otisco Street and Kellogg Street, Syracuse; distributed cocaine to others

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 and federal authorities, resulting in charges against more than 300 defendants and the seizures of well over $3 million in drugs and cash, as well as dozens of guns.

The investigations leading to the charges announced today were carried out by the Attorney General’s Organized Crime Task Force, including Supervising Investigator Ronald Vincent and Investigator William Elsenbeck, under the supervision of Chief Thomas Mullen. The investigations were supervised by Executive Deputy Attorney General for Criminal Justice Robin L. Baker and First Assistant Deputy Attorney General Peri Alyse Kadanoff. The cases are being prosecuted by Assistant Deputy Attorney General Irene Bardot in Onondaga County.

The Attorney General’s office collaborated with officers from the following branches of law enforcement: New York State Police; the Oswego County Sheriff’s Department; the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office; the Cayuga County Sheriff’s Department; the Finger Lakes Drug Task Force; the Onondaga County District Attorney’s Office; the City of Auburn Police Department; the City of Oswego Police Department; the City of Fulton Police Department; the City of Syracuse Police Department; the Camillus Police Department; the Solvay Police Department; and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

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

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