Central New York Drug Sweep Results In The Arrest Of Sixty-one

State Attorney General Spitzer, State Police Superintendent Wayne Bennett, Cortland County District Attorney David Hartnett, Jefferson County District Attorney Cindy Intschert, Monroe County District Attorney Michael Green, Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick, and Tompkins County District Attorney George Dentes, today announced the arrest of 61 individuals who are charged in a series of indictments and felony complaints for their participation in four separate Central New York cocaine trafficking rings.

"The drug network is composed of many inter-related parts. By continuing to devote resources and partnering our law enforcement agencies across the state, we are having a significant impact on drug dealers and their distribution channels across the state," Spitzer said.

Today's early morning raids took place in Cortland, Jefferson, Monroe, Onondaga, and Tompkins counties. All of the rings were investigated by the New York State Attorney General's Organized Crime Task Force (OCTF) in conjunction with numerous other law enforcement agencies including the New York State Police Community Narcotics Enforcement Team.

New York State Police Superintendent Wayne E. Bennett said: "The outstanding cooperation and communication among the many law enforcement agencies involved in these investigations was crucial to the successful outcome. The significant quantities of cocaine, cash, firearms and vehicles seized are indicative of the complexity and widespread influence of these drug traffickers."

Cortland County District Attorney David Hartnett said: "We are very pleased that the efforts of so many fine law enforcement officials have resulted in a large number of arrests. The Cortland County District Attorney's Office is proud to work with and receive the assistance of the Attorney General's Organized Crime Task Force in the fight to reduce the drug problem in Cortland County and in Central New York."

Jefferson County District Attorney Cindy Intschert said: "We are very pleased with the results of this investigation. Due to the efforts of OCTF and all of the law enforcement agencies involved, Jefferson County is now rid of several mid-level dealers."

Monroe County District Attorney Michael Green said: "This investigation takes many mid to upper level cocaine dealers off the streets of Monroe County. We are pleased to have the New York State Attorney General's Office as a partner in our fight against crime, particularly targeting distribution networks like this one that cover large portions of the state. This is another example of cooperation between many law enforcement agencies leading to great results for our community."

Onondaga County District Attorney William J. Fitzpatrick said: "These arrests demonstrate how effective a cooperative effort can be in putting drug organizations out of business in New York State. I am especially proud of the work of the former Onondaga County Assistant District Attorneys, Irene Bardot, Gordon Cuffy and James Mindell in their tireless work on this case."

Tompkins County District Attorney George Dentes said: "This is an example of the excellent cooperation that exists between local prosecutors and the State-wide Organized Crime Task Force. Working with local police officers who supplied the intelligence on their local drug figures, OCTF was able to conduct a multi-county investigation making use of labor-intensive, but very effective, electronic and on-the-street surveillance techniques. We thank the Attorney General and OCTF for dedicating these resources toward Tompkins County and its neighbors, and for bringing so many problematic drug dealers to justice."

During the course of the investigations, authorities seized a total of approximately four pounds of cocaine, with a street value of approximately $180,000, eight firearms, $47,000 in cash, and eight vehicles. In one ring, 23 defendants in Monroe County are charged with obtaining cocaine and then distributing it in Rochester and Syracuse. In a second ring, 7 defendants in Onondaga County are charged with distributing cocaine in Syracuse. In a third ring, 11 defendants in Jefferson County are charged with obtaining large amounts of cocaine in Staten Island and then distributing it in the Town of Theresa, Evans Mills, Carthage, and the City of Watertown. In a fourth ring, 21 defendants in Cortland County are charged with conspiring to distribute cocaine in Cortland and Tompkins County.

Syracuse Police Chief Steven Thompson said: "Today's successful culmination of an extensive narcotics investigation was made possible due to the cooperation of the many involved law enforcement agencies. Several large-scale narcotics' dealers are no longer operating on our city streets due to this combined effort."

Authorities working in conjunction with the New York State Attorney General's Office previously arrested 7 individuals in addition to those arrested today as a result of these investigations, one of whom is allegedly a member of the Latin Kings street gang. Possible prison sentences for the various individuals charged range from one year to life in prison.

Spitzer acknowledged the cooperation and support of a number of law enforcement agencies for their contributions to this regional narcotics investigation, including: the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the Drug Enforcement Administration, Cortland County Drug Task Force, Finger Lakes Drug Task Force, Metro-Jefferson Drug Task Force, Cayuga County Sheriff's Department, Cortland County Sheriff's Department, Onondaga County Sheriff's Department, Tompkins County Sheriff's Department, Auburn Police Department, Cortland Police Department, Ithaca Police Department, Rochester Police Department, Syracuse Police Department, Watertown Police Department, Cortland State University Police Department, Village of Dryden Police Department.

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

The cases are being prosecuted by Assistant Deputy Attorneys General Irene Bardot, Gordon Cuffy, and James Mindell of the Syracuse OCTF Office under the supervision of Deputy Attorney General Christopher Prather.