Attorney General James Announces Takedown of Major Drug Trafficking Operation in Capital Region
54 Individuals Indicted for Roles in Distributing Heroin, Fentanyl, Methamphetamine, and Cocaine
NEW YORK – New York Attorney General Letitia James today announced the indictment of 54 members of a drug trafficking ring for their roles in distributing heroin laced with fentanyl, powder and crack cocaine, and methamphetamine to Fulton, Montgomery, Saratoga, Albany, Rensselaer, Schenectady, and Warren counties sourced from New York City dealers. The year-long investigation led to the seizure of approximately two kilograms of methamphetamine, 1.5 kilograms of cocaine, 14 grams of heroin, four handguns, and $25,000 in cash.
“Dangerous drugs have devastated too many communities throughout our state and claimed too many lives,” said Attorney General James. “As New Yorkers and Americans across the country witnessed the greatest number of drug overdose deaths in history in 2020, the defendants here were allegedly flooding our streets with the very types of drugs that caused this devastation. Today, we are putting an end to their efforts that put New Yorkers in harm’s way. My office will continue to pursue and hold accountable anyone who violates the law. I thank our partners in law enforcement for their critical support in this takedown.”
Today’s takedown was the result of a joint investigation between the Office of the Attorney General’s (OAG) Organized Crime Task Force (OCTF), the Johnstown Police Department, the Gloversville Police Department, the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, the Amsterdam Police Department, the Schenectady Sheriff’s Office, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, and the New York State Police. The investigation — codenamed “Operation Garage Days” — included covert surveillance and hundreds of hours of wiretaps over numerous targeted phones.
As alleged in the indictment, the central figures in this narcotics distribution network were Brianna Nichols and Michael Kuntzsch, who often worked together to obtain and sell methamphetamine and cocaine in Fulton County. The investigation also revealed that Nichols had various sources of supply for the methamphetamine and narcotics that she sold to customers who travelled to her from around the Capital Region. Kuntzsch had customers based in Montgomery, Fulton, Saratoga, Lewis, and St. Lawrence counties.
During the course of the investigation, investigators intercepted communications in which Sahib Braan, Miguel John, Christian Mitchell, and Jordan Thomas plotted and attempted a home invasion robbery of a rival narcotics trafficker in Gloversville. The investigators were able to thwart the robbery plot, intercept the would-be robbers, and seize a loaded handgun that they had planned to use.
“This case is a good example of how drug dealers have no jurisdictional boundaries and they actually try and use those boundaries to further criminal activity,” said Johnstown Police Chief David Gilbo. “We have shown through this collaborative effort that law enforcement will rise to the challenge and protect our communities. 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. This case also shows the scale of drugs, weapons, and money that travels through our suburban and upstate communities.”
“Drug dealers do not contain their violence and other negative impacts on our communities to specific jurisdictions,” said Gloversville Police Chief Anthony Clay. “For example, the resources in this investigation were leveraged to prevent multiple home invasions that suspects from other communities intended to commit in Gloversville. This collaboration among the various law enforcement agencies sends a clear message that law enforcement will rise to the challenge and protect our communities. The success of 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 beyond their jurisdictional boundaries.”
“This case targeted a trafficking network that was bringing dangerous, illegal narcotics into upstate New York and beyond, with no regard for the damage being done to the local communities,” said State Police Superintendent Kevin P. Bruen. “We will not stand for it. These arrests were only made possible through the combined efforts of our members and our state and local law enforcement partners, and we appreciate this ongoing collaboration.”
“This drug trafficking organization distributed everything from crack cocaine, to methamphetamine, to heroin,” said DEA New York Division Special Agent in Charge Ray Donovan. “We are proud to have worked in partnership with our many law enforcement partners and the Office of the Attorney General to dismantle this organization, and others like it, that do nothing but pollute our communities with addictive and deadly drugs.”
The 376-count indictment — unsealed today in Fulton County Court — charges the defendants with various counts of Criminal Sale and Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance (class A, B, C, D felonies) and Conspiracy in the Second Degree (class B felony).
Those charged in today’s indictment include:
Walter Allen, 51 years old, Gloversville, NY
Darnell Alston, 49 years old, Gloversville, NY
Zionna Belknap, 21 years old, Gloversville, NY
Everett Russell Bishop, 48 years old, Wilton, NY
Toni Borromeo, 45 years old, Gloversville, NY
Sahib Braan, 30 years old, Troy, NY
Octavius Brooks, 24 years old, Binghamton, NY
Lamar Brown, 35 years old, Gloversville, NY
Christopher Clark, 39 years old, Amsterdam, NY
Lawrence Cross, 34 years old, Gloversville, NY
Daniel Degnan, 30 years old, Gloversville, NY
Stephen Dingman, 27 years old, Gloversville, NY
Floyd Everson, 47 years old, Port Jefferson, NY
Megan Grubb, 32 years old, Gloversville, NY
Alex Hanson, 26 years old, Potsdam, NY
Sean Hines, 38 years old, Gloversville, NY
Tina Jackson, 49 years old, Gloversville, NY
Ryan Jacques, 40 years old, St. Regis Falls, NY
Miguel John, 26 years old, Saratoga Springs, NY
Donald Johnson, 39 years old, Johnstown, NY
John Kaminski, 43 years old, Fort Johnson, NY
Christopher Kippen, 41 years old, Schenectady, NY
Adam Krzeski, 37 years old, Gloversville, NY
Michael Kuntzsch, 33 years old, St. Johnsville, NY
Thomas Laverpool, 30 years old, Brooklyn, NY
Andre Lewis, 52 years old, Gloversville, NY
Dylan Mailloux, 30 years old, Little Falls, NY
Kenneth McKiver, 29 years old, Gloversville, NY
Ernest McMikle, 35 years old, Gloversville, NY
Shakona Mikula, 25 years old, Gloversville, NY
Donovan Millhouse, 25 years old, Gloversville, NY
Christopher Millington, 37 years old, Gansevoort, NY
Christian Mitchell, 33 years old, Troy, NY
Khalif Mitchell, 35 years old, Hudson, PA
Adonta Moore, 24 years old, Gloversville, NY
Brianna Nichols, 25 years old, Gloversville, NY
Barbara Parker, 47 years old, Gloversville, NY
Wayne Platt, 37 years old, Gloversville, NY
George Ramson, 43 years old, Rotterdam, NY
Dalton Remines, 28 years old, Galway, NY
Jacquelynn Ross, 36 years old, Gloversville, NY
Dashawn Rowland, 27 years old, Gloversville, NY
Tessa Taylor, 26 years old, Mayfield, NY
Jordan Thomas, 23 years old, Troy, NY
Javiel Tirse, 41 years old, Gloversville, NY
Steven VanAllen, 43 years old, Gloversville, NY
Ross VanAlstyne, 26 years old, Gloversville, NY
Clinton Waddell, 39 years old, Middle Grove, NY
Laquan Warren, 26 years old, Brooklyn, NY
Christopher Williams, 53 years old, Gloversville, NY
Hassan Wilson, 31 years old, Gloversville, NY
Jamar Wright, 38 years old, Johnstown, 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.
In addition to the listed partners, Attorney General James would like to thank Gloversville Police Detective Brian Knecht, who worked under the supervision of Gloversville Police Chief Anthony Clay and Detective Lieutenant Richard Richardson, as well as Fulton County District Attorney Chad W. Brown for their assistance in this investigation.
The investigation was directed by Johnstown Police Detective Blaine Walker, under the supervision of Detective Sergeant Jonathon Silva and Johnstown Chief of Police David Gilbo; as well as OCTF Detective Michael Connelly, under the supervision of OCTF Supervising Detective John Monte and OCTF Deputy Chief Investigator John McManus. The OAG’s Investigations Bureau is led by Chief Investigator Oliver Pu-Folkes.
The case is being prosecuted by OAG OCTF Assistant Deputy Attorney General Andrew McElwee, under the supervision of OCTF Upstate Deputy Bureau Chief Maria Moran. Nicole Keary is the Deputy Attorney General in Charge of OCTF. Both the Investigations Bureau and OCTF are part of the Division for Criminal Justice. The Division for Criminal Justice is led by Chief Deputy Attorney General José Maldonado and overseen by First Deputy Attorney General Jennifer Levy.