A.G. Underwood And Albany Police Department Announce Takedown Of Capital Region Drug Trafficking Ring In Operation Cryptic Cipher

News from the New York Attorney General's Office

May 24, 2018

Attorney General’s Press Office / 212-416-8060


Multi-Agency Crackdown Leads to 84-Count Indictment Charging 13-Person Drug Trafficking Ring for Distributing Heroin, Fentanyl, and Cocaine In NYC and Upstate Counties

Operation Cryptic Cipher Marks 10th Takedown Since Attorney General’s Office Launched SURGE Initiative – Taking 315 Traffickers Off Streets Since April 2017

ALBANY - Attorney General Barbara D. Underwood and the Albany Police Department today announced the indictment of 13 individuals for their roles in trafficking significant quantities of heroin, fentanyl, and cocaine from New York City and throughout the Capital Region – including in Albany, Bronx, Kings, and Schenectady counties. Unsealed today in Albany County Court, the defendants were charged with various narcotics-related crimes in an 84-count indictment for their involvement in the narcotics trafficking network. The defendants are being arraigned today in Albany Count Court by Judge William A. Carter.

“We have zero tolerance for any gang that puts potentially lethal drugs on New York streets,” said Attorney General Underwood. “I thank the Albany Police Department and all of our law enforcement partners for helping us take on this dangerous drug trafficking ring in the Capital Region.”

“There is often a direct correlation between the presence of dangerous drugs in our communities and incidents of senseless violence,” said Acting Albany Police Chief Robert Sears. “As a result of Operation Cryptic Cipher, law enforcement agencies at all levels have once again demonstrated their commitment to continuing to work together to ensure that individuals who choose to partake in the sale and distribution of dangerous drugs are arrested and held accountable. Drugs such as cocaine, fentanyl and heroin and the violence associated with them have no place in our community. I’d like to thank Attorney General Underwood for her unwavering support for our agency, as well and her commitment to ensuring that New York communities remain safe.”

Code-named “Operation Cryptic Cipher,” state and local law enforcement agents concluded a six months-long investigation into a drug network that was funneling narcotics onto the streets of the Capital Region. The investigation was led by the New York State Attorney General's Organized Crime Task Force (“OCTF”) and the City of Albany Police Department. It is alleged that several of the defendants, including Cedric “C-God” Williams and Virgil “God” Faircloth, were regularly peddling fentanyl to unsuspecting addicts who thought they were buying heroin. Believing they had bought heroin, the drug customers would unwittingly inject or snort the fentanyl – which is fifty times stronger than heroin – subjecting them to a high probability of overdose and playing Russian roulette with their lives. Over the course of the raid, authorities seized ¾ kilo of cocaine and two guns.

Today’s takedown marks the 10th major drug bust since the launch of the SURGE Initiative by the Attorney General’s Office – a targeted crackdown on New York’s growing heroin, opioid, and narcotics trafficking networks operating in upstate and suburban communities. In the past year, the Attorney General’s Operation Wrecking BallOperation Bricktown, Operation Un-Wise, Operation Gravy TrainOperation Bloodsport, Operation Pipeline, and Operation Dirty Deeds have resulted in 315 traffickers taken off the streets throughout New York State; those defendants have collectively been charged with over 1,400 crimes. 

A central figure in the cocaine distribution network, Cedric “C-God” Williams, routinely distributed heroin, fentanyl, and cocaine, and is a known member of the Five-Percenters gang. Williams and several of his co-conspirators used the Five-Percenters concepts of Supreme Understanding and Supreme Mathematics in their telephone communications in an effort to disguise their drug dealing. It is alleged in the indictment that Williams, using Supreme Mathematics, used cryptic, coded language such as “Culture Cipher, the nose-way” to convey that he wanted to purchase 40 grams of powder cocaine from his co-defendant, Ammar Elori. It is also alleged that Williams referred to purchasing two bundles of heroin as “two sandwiches.” Co-conspirators used cryptology to convey they wanted to purchase 35 grams of cocaine by stating, “understanding power of the white girl.”

As asserted in the indictment, defendants also used more common coded language such as referring to crack cocaine as “hard” and powder cocaine as “soft.” It is alleged that through cryptic communications, one defendant referred to cocaine as “ice cream” and referred to a request for 45 grams of powder cocaine and 15 grams of crack cocaine as “45 soft ice 15 hard.” Two defendants are also alleged to have referred to sixteen grams of powder cocaine as “sixteen undone” and fifteen grams of crack cocaine as “fifteen done.”

The Attorney General's indictment charges the following 13 defendants with different crimes, including but not limited to: Criminal Sale and Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance (class A, B, C, D felonies) and Conspiracy in the Second Degree (class B felony), in relation to their involvement in the narcotics trafficking operation:

Donell Alexander, a/k/a “Nephew” “Cooj”, 33 years old – Manhattan NY

Robin Dorsey, 59 years old – Albany, NY

Ammar Elordi, a/k/a “A-Boogie” “Boogie”, 28 years old – Albany NY

Virgil Faircloth, a/k/a “God” “Ridge”, 48 years old – Albany NY

Derrick Graham, 48 years old – Queens, NY                                         

Malcolm Grimes, a/k/a “Flex”, 27 years old – Albany NY       

Eugene Herring, 54 years old – Schenectady, NY

Malcolm Moore, 49 years old – Albany NY

Kadeem Owens, 25 years old – Albany, NY

Sean Payton, a/k/a “SP”, 42 years old – Albany NY                                

Ricky Taylor, 47 years old –Albany, NY

Nathaniel West, 33 years old – Albany NY                     

Cedric Williams, a/k/a “C”, a/k/a “C-God”, 48 years old – Albany NY

The charges contained in the indictment are the result of a six-month joint investigation by the OCTF, the City of Albany Police Department, with the assistance of the New York National Guard Counterdrug Task Force and the United States Marshals Service.

The charges against the defendants are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in a court of law. 

The investigation was directed by Albany Police Department Detective James Wood and OCTF Special Investigator John Monte, under the supervision of Albany Police Department Sgt. Bryan Plante and assistance of OCTF Supervising Investigator William Charles and Deputy Chief Investigator Gene Black, under the overall supervision of Chief Dominick Zarrella.

The case is being prosecuted by OCTF Assistant Deputy Attorney General Michael A. Sharpe, under the supervision of Deputy Bureau Chief Maria Moran. Deputy Attorney General Peri Alyse Kadanoff runs OCTF. Margaret Garnett is the Executive Deputy Attorney General for Criminal Justice.