Attorney General James Busts Drug Trafficking Operation for Distributing Heroin, Fentanyl, and Cocaine in the Capital Region

Seizes 7 Kilograms of Cocaine, 70 Grams of Heroin,
120 Grams of Fentanyl, Dozens of Narcotic Pills

SARATOGA SPRINGS – New York Attorney General Letitia James today announced the indictment of individuals involved in a drug trafficking ring operating in Saratoga, Albany, Rensselaer, Schenectady, and Warren Counties, and was sourced by New York City dealers. The network of dealers was distributing heroin laced with fentanyl, and in some cases straight fentanyl that they were calling heroin, as well as powder and crack cocaine and illegal prescription pills. The 303-count indictment was unsealed today in Saratoga County Supreme Court.

“We will pursue and prosecute all those who peddle illicit drugs and put New Yorkers in harm’s way for personal profit,” said Attorney General James. “Communities across New York are safer today for having shut down this vast network of distributors and traffickers of illicit drugs. My office will remain vigilant about bringing these offenders to justice, and we are grateful to our other partners in law enforcement for their assistance.”

“Drug dealers do not limit their illegal activities to specific jurisdictions, and we have shown by this collaborative effort that law enforcement will rise to the challenge and protect our communities,” said City of Saratoga Springs Police Chief Shane Crooks. “This investigation is the direct result of the hard work done by members of the various agencies involved and shows just how effective law enforcement can be when working together.”

Today’s takedown is the latest in the Attorney General’s Suburban and Upstate Response to the Growing Epidemic (S.U.R.G.E.) Initiative to root out violent drug trafficking. Since launching in 2017, SURGE has taken 554 alleged traffickers off the streets.

The multi-agency investigation, code-named “Operation Red Dawn," brought together the resources of state and local law enforcement agencies led by the Attorney General’s Organized Crime Task Force (OCTF), including the City of Saratoga Springs Police Department, the Warren County Sheriff’s Office, the Schenectady Sheriff’s Office, and the New York State Police. The year-long investigation included covert surveillance and hundreds of hours of wiretaps over more than two dozen target phones, aimed at rooting out heroin, fentanyl, and cocaine dealers operating in the Capital region and elsewhere in New York state. This investigation led to the recovery of approximately 7 kilograms of cocaine, 70 grams of heroin, 120 grams of fentanyl, dozens of narcotic pills, and the seizure of $40,000. 

Central figures in this narcotics distribution network were Lacy “Red” Enous and Deborah Latalladi, who often partnered together to obtain and sell heroin, fentanyl, and cocaine in Saratoga County. As alleged in the indictment, the investigation revealed that Latalladi had eight different sources of supply for the narcotics and/or prescription pills that she sold to a network of customers who travelled to her from around the Capital region; Enous had customers based in Saratoga, Albany, Rensselaer, and Schenectady Counties. 

As a major cocaine source of supply to this narcotics operation, Donald Thomas and Sharrod Thorton operated a stash location at 178th Street in the Bronx, from which they sold multiple kilograms of cocaine. Three kilograms of cocaine were seized from Shawn Delmore, one of Thomas and Thorton’s main narcotics customers. A search warrant executed at the stash location in the Bronx yielded four kilograms of cocaine with a potential street value of $240,000. Thomas, Thorton and Delmore were charged in this indictment with Operating as a Major Trafficker and related crimes.

The indictment contains 303 counts, charging the defendants with crimes in relation to their involvement in the narcotics trafficking operation, including Operating as a Major Trafficker, and various counts of Criminal Sale and Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance (class A, B, C, D felonies) as well as Conspiracy in the Second Degree (class B felony). 

Those charged in today’s indictment include:

Pamela Backus, 46 years old, Greenfield Center, NY
Jordan Blount, 29 years old, Ballston Spa, NY
Angel Bracero-Ortiz, 47 years old, Saratoga Springs, NY
Omar Childress, 46 years old, Schenectady, NY
Unikia Cross, 37 years old, Saratoga Springs, NY
James Daggett, 63 years old, Fort Edward, NY
Shawn Delmore, 49 years old, Waterbury, CT.
Erica Dubray, 27 years old, Troy, NY
Nancy Dukes, 64 years old, Troy, NY
James Eggleston, 52 years old, Hudson Falls, NY
Lacy Enous, 44 years old, Troy, NY
Noelia Fuentes, 51 years old, Saratoga Springs, NY
David Garcia, 46 years old, Queensbury, NY
Dorothy Gethers, 60 years old, Bronx, NY
Kimberly Goodson, 51 years old, Queensbury, NY
Dean Harlan, 38 years old, Albany, NY
Richard Henderson, 31 years old, Bronx, NY
Carlos Hernandez, 58 years old, Bronx, NY
Clarence Jackson, 43 years old, Albany, NY
Adrian Kelley, 42 years old, Albany, NY
Deborah Latalladi, 58 years old, Saratoga Springs, NY
Erina Lemperle, 41 years old, Schenectady, NY
Crystal Leo, 31 years old, Saratoga Springs, NY
Amanda Lovely-Lamarche, 35 years old, Porter Corners, NY
Zooleika Mendez, 45 years old, Saratoga Springs, NY
Frankie Mercado, 42 years old, Bronx, NY
Joseph Meunier, 41 years old, Ballston Spa, NY
Shalena Murray, 30 years old, Schenectady, NY
Damir Parsons, 20 years old, Schenectady, NY
Mattathias Parsons, 46 years old, Schenectady, NY
Adriane Pierce, 58 years old, Poughkeepsie, NY
Nicole Rich, 32 years old, Saratoga Springs, NY
Alexander Rivera, 67 years old, Bronx, NY
Patrick Robinson, 58 years old, Saratoga Springs, NY
Louis Rosa, 40 years old, Schenectady, NY
Frank Sawyer, 43 years old, Watervliet, NY
Yvonne Smith, 63 years old, Saratoga Springs, NY
Janessa Soto, 31 years old, Troy, NY
Nicole Strainer, 25 years old, Greenwich, NY
Philip Taylor, 47 years old, Saratoga Springs, NY
Donald Thomas, 46 years old, Englewood, NJ
Sharrod Thorton, 43 years old, Bronx, NY
Shetwana Venable, 28 years old, Saratoga Springs, NY
Dranae Washington, 49 years old, Schenectady, NY
Eric Williams, 53 years old, Schenectady, NY
Lamont Williams, 43 years old, Bronx, NY
Elrahim Wright, 47 years old, Brooklyn, NY

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 Office of the Attorney General wishes to thank the members of the City of Saratoga Springs Police Department, the Warren County Sheriff’s Office, the Schenectady Sheriff’s Office, and the New York State Police for their partnership in this investigation. 

“We've been working successfully across party lines and with many caring professionals in all regions of New York state to combat the heroin and opioid crisis, which has claimed far too many lives,” said State Senator Betty Little. “While focusing on rehab and mental health services has helped a great deal, keeping these drugs out of our communities is certainly critically important. I am pleased to join Attorney General Letitia James to thank the men and women of law enforcement for their heroic work in identifying this network. With all the challenges we face these days, we'll do much better without the damaging impact of drugs like fentanyl and crack cocaine impacting those who are most vulnerable.”

“It’s so important to crack down on the sale and distribution of dangerous narcotics — particularly heroin and fentanyl that have done so much damage to our communities,” said State Senator George Amedore. “I want to thank and congratulate everyone involved in this operation — because of your hard work, these dealers will be properly prosecuted and these drugs will be off our streets.”

“This drug bust is part of a three-legged stool holistic approach of taking down big drug dealers, investing in education to help prevent people from becoming drug users and sellers, and treatment, so people can turn their lives around,” said State Senator Jim Tedisco, member of the Senate Committee on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse. “A big part of the success of this strategy is doing exactly what Attorney General James has accomplished today by getting the big drug dealers off our streets. Thanks to the Attorney General, her office, and law enforcement for their efforts to reduce drug usage.”

“The indictment of drug dealers peddling poisons in the form of cocaine, heroin, fentanyl, and narcotic pills is a major victory for safer communities across our Capital Region and the entire state,” said State Senator Daphne Jordan. “I credit and appreciate the hard work, vigilance, and excellence of New York State Attorney General Letitia James and her partners in law enforcement. Attorney General James deserves our thanks for the tremendous success in cracking this drug trafficking ring, getting these deadly drugs off our streets, and protecting the lives of our citizens. This is fantastic news for all New Yorkers.”

“Thank you to the Attorney General for this important contribution to drug enforcement in the Capital Region,” said Assembly Member Phil Steck. “It is important to note that the court may set bail on the higher-level drug offenders just as they always have.”

“I am grateful for the good work of the Attorney General’s Drug Task Force, state police, the Saratoga Springs Police Department, and all of the law enforcement agencies involved in this investigation,” said Assembly Member Carrie Woerner. “Drug dealers, like the ones arrested today, destroy lives and ruin families. The work of law enforcement in today’s sweeping arrests of drug traffickers have taken dangerous drugs off of our streets and saved lives.”

“The uncovering of this massive operation is a reality check for our community, as well as a reminder that we must remain vigilant in order to protect our children and loved ones from such dangerous activities and substances,” said Assembly Member Mary Beth Walsh. “I applaud Attorney General James and all of the law enforcement agencies from throughout the five local counties in which this trafficking ring operated, for their work to shut down the trafficking and distribution of drugs into our communities.”

The investigation was directed by OCTF Senior Investigator John Monte, OCTF Assistant Chief Investigator John Sullivan, and Deputy Chief Investigator Christopher Vasta. The Attorney General’s Investigations Division is led by Chief Oliver Pu-Folkes. 

The case is being prosecuted by OCTF Assistant Deputy Attorney General Andrew McElwee, under the supervision of OCTF Deputy Bureau Chief Maria Moran. Nicole Keary is the Deputy Attorney General in Charge of OCTF. The Criminal Justice Division is led by Chief Deputy Attorney General Jose Maldonado. Both the Investigations Division and the Criminal Justice Division are overseen by First Deputy Attorney General Jennifer Levy.