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Post date: June 26 2008

Attorney General Cuomo's Upstate Guns, Gangs And Drugs Initiative Cuts Off Rochester-to-oswego Drug Pipeline

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (June 26, 2008) - Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced his office has filed charges against 28 individuals allegedly involved in a cocaine distribution network that brought drugs from Rochester into Oswego County. The charges result from an investigation that seized nearly a pound of cocaine carrying a street value of more than $35,000.

Attorney General Cuomo’s Organized Crime Task Force (OCTF) led the multi-agency investigation known as “Operation Fultron,” in which 28 individuals from Rochester and Central New York are all charged with Conspiracy in the 2nd Degree (class B felony). Several of those arrested are also charged with varying degrees of Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance.

“The message to drug pushers in New York state is clear: don’t even think about trying to sell drugs in any corner of the state,” said Attorney General Cuomo. “We are aware of it and we are united in our fight to stop it. This cooperative relationship between law enforcement agencies is the best tool to protect our communities. Federal, state and local law enforcement and prosecutors are working together with my office to curb the flow of deadly drugs into our upstate communities.”

The year-long investigation, which used wiretaps and surveillance, found that Jerome Brooks, 25, of Fairview Avenue, Rochester, allegedly managed a drug distribution network from February through March 2008. Through electronic surveillance, investigators discovered that Brooks allegedly sold cocaine himself but more often would have his workers deal directly to customers. The alleged workers include:Nicholas Garcia, a/k/a “Vega,” 19, E. Main St. Rochester
Sharmar Cruz, 25, Wilkins St., Rochester

On March 25, more than eight ounces of cocaine were seized from Brooks in Oswego County, effectively putting him out of the business. Nicholas Garcia then allegedly took over the business and brought in the following additional workers to transport and sell cocaine to lower-level resellers in Oswego and Fulton:Christopher Garcia, 17, E. Main St., Rochester
John Goodman, a/k/a “Wes,” 19, Jersey St., Rochester
Joshua Coppolla, 21, S. Plymouth Ave., Rochester
Joelle Denaro, 18, Peck Rd., Spencerport
Justin Mendez, 20, of Davis St., Rochester

On April 18, 29, and May 1, law enforcement seized several additional ounces of cocaine from these workers while they were transporting drugs to the Oswego County area.

The following individuals were alleged resellers in Oswego and Fulton:Robert F. Carnegie, Jr., 49, of S. First Street, Fulton
Donald Currier, 35, of Chestnut Street, Fulton
Kathy I. Davis, 44, of E. 6th Street, Oswego
Justin Fellows, 25, of E. 10th Street, Fulton
Douglas F. Fischel, 50, of Manhattan Avenue, Fulton
Jack R. Hammond, Jr., 49, of Syracuse Ave., Oswego
Lacy R. Henderson, 36, of E. 7th Street, Oswego
Mark E. Holmes, 48, of E. 4th Street, Oswego
Delbert J. Jacques, Jr., 44, of E. 4th Street, Oswego
Pamela L. Lavere, 34, of Chestnut Street, Oswego
Lee Loughrey, 48, of E. 6th Street, Oswego
Juan Perez, 37, of Lawrence Ave., Oswego
Kareen A. Pullen, 43, of Ontario Street, Oswego
Rebecca Rando, 43, of S.W. 8th Street, Oswego
Trisha Sloppy, 34, of Syracuse Avenue, Oswego
Sasha Smith, 20, of Hooker Street, Rochester

Four other defendants are actively being sought.

Brooks, Coppolla, Denaro, Nicholas Garcia, Goodman, Smith and Mendez were also charged with Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance.

City of Oswego Mayor Randolph F. Bateman said, “Drugs have absolutely no place in our community. The flow of narcotics from larger cities is a challenge, but it’s a challenge that we are facing head-on. By working closely with local, state and federal law enforcement and with Attorney General Cuomo’s Office, we are making great inroads in the fight against deadly drugs. I would like to congratulate all the law enforcement agencies involved for a job well done.”

Mayor of Fulton Ron Woodward said, “Attorney General Cuomo’s Upstate Guns, Gangs and Drugs Initiative has brought real results to Central New York and to our city. We stand committed to preventing crime in our neighborhoods, and I am proud of the work our law enforcement colleagues have done today. We will continue to work together to continue to curb the drug trade in Fulton and beyond.”

Oswego County District Attorney Donald Dodd said, “The criminals who possess, sell and traffic drugs don’t recognize county or city or town boundaries as a place to stop their criminal conduct. Through the collective investigative efforts of a number of police agencies and the New York State Attorney General’s Organized Crime Task Force, many of these criminals will be brought to justice today to answer for their wrongdoings. Through this team effort, these criminals will be held accountable for the poison they spread in our community.”

Oswego County Sheriff Reuel A. Todd said, “Police are the first lines of defense in protecting our communities from deadly drugs. We worked closely with law enforcement from various municipalities to bring this organization down. Thanks to the hard work of our collective officers, Attorney General Cuomo’s Office and other law enforcement personnel, an elaborate drug ring has been destroyed, making our neighborhoods safer.”

New York State Police Superintendent Harry J. Corbitt said, “The partnership of the New York State Police Community Narcotics Enforcement Team with the Attorney General’s Upstate Guns, Gangs and Drugs Initiative is a welcome tool in the continued mission to fight against illegal drug trafficking and its associated violence in many communities.”

Attorney General Cuomo’s Upstate Guns, Gangs and Drugs Initiative was created to stem the flow of deadly narcotics between jurisdictions and from downstate cities into upstate municipalities. The initiative involves coordinating law enforcement agencies from federal, state and local levels into a cohesive force against organized drug rings and trafficking operations. The initiative has taken down multiple narcotics rings dealing in heroin, cocaine and other deadly drugs throughout the state and seized millions of dollars in drugs, guns and cash.

Attorney General Cuomo thanked the New York State Police, the New York State Division of Parole, the City of Oswego Police, the City of Fulton Police, the Oswego County Sheriff’s Office, the Greater Rochester Area Narcotics Enforcement Team and the New York State University Police at SUNY Oswego for their involvement in “Operation Fultron.” The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Deputy Attorney General and Senior Investigative Counsel James Mindell of the Organized Crime Task Force under the supervision of Peri Kadanoff, First Assistant Deputy Attorney General for OCTF, and Robin L. Baker, Executive Deputy Attorney General for Criminal Justice. The investigation was handled by OCTF Supervising Investigator Ronald Vincent under the direction OCTF Chief Investigator Tom Mullen.

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