12 Men and women Indicted for Roles in Flooding Communities with Cocaine, Heroin, and Methamphetamine, and Unlawful Possession of Assault Weapons and High-Capability Publications
Hottest Action in AG James’ Attempts to Overcome Opioid Crisis and Hold Streets Clear from Unsafe Medication and Guns
NEW YORK – New York Attorney Standard Letitia James now announced the takedown of a drug trafficking operation that flooded communities in the Hudson Valley and Capital Region with considerable quantities of cocaine, heroin drugs, methamphetamine products, and artificial Xanax drugs. As alleged in two indictments — unsealed in Ulster County Court docket today — 12 people trafficked a lot more than a person million dollars’ worth of cocaine and 1000’s of products all through Ulster, Dutchess, and Saratoga counties, and illegally possessed firearms, such as assault weapons, and high-capability journals.
The investigation led to the restoration of:
- 11 kilograms of cocaine, with an approximate street price of $1.2 million
- 15,000 methamphetamine products, disguised as Adderall supplements, with an approximate road value of $100,000
- 5,000 artificial Xanax supplements, with an approximate road value of $50,000
- 750 heroin supplements, disguised as oxycodone, with an approximate street benefit of $20,000
- 39 firearms, which includes four assault weapons
- 40 substantial-ability magazines
- Hundreds of rounds of ammunition and,
- $120,000 in hard cash.
“As communities throughout New York and the region are devastated by opioids and gun violence each working day, we are getting really serious action to crack down on people who gasoline this damage,” claimed Lawyer Common James. “Any drug operation that floods our streets with heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine endangers New Yorkers. But this operation was specially dangerous since they marketed medications that were intentionally disguised as prescription supplements and had been heavily armed with assault weapons and other firearms. Stopping gun violence and the opioid crisis necessitates action from every angle, and today’s takedown is the latest instance of our commitment to making use of each individual software achievable to protect our communities. I thank our companions in regulation enforcement for their priceless assistance in this investigation.”
Today’s takedown was the end result of an 11-thirty day period joint-investigation led by the Office environment of the Attorney General’s (OAG) Organized Criminal offense Undertaking Pressure (OCTF), the Ulster County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO), and the Ulster Regional Gang Enforcement Narcotics Group (URGENT), with help from the Ulster County District Attorney’s Office, the Dutchess County Drug Activity Power, the Dutchess County Sheriff’s Workplace, and the New York Condition Law enforcement Unique Investigations Unit.
The investigation — dubbed “Operation GTL” because of to guns, trafficking of narcotics, and laundering of proceeds which the investigation uncovered — integrated hundreds of hrs of physical and covert surveillance, courtroom-licensed wiretapping of cellular telephones, and assessment of telephone information and law enforcement databases.
Throughout digital surveillance, the defendants and their co-conspirators frequently used coded and cryptic terminology in an attempt to disguise their illicit actions, these as referring to cocaine as “girl,” “lady,” or “white” heroin capsules as “blues,” “blueberries,” or “berries” methamphetamine pills as “peaches” or “oranges” and artificial Xanax pills as “greens,” “green beans,” or “beans.”
Indictment Just one
As outlined in the 1st indictment, 11 defendants were being charged for their roles in two conspiracies — just one in which the defendants marketed and possessed illegal tablets disguised as pharmaceutical grade prescription drugs and the other in which the defendants bought and possessed cocaine.
As alleged in the to start with conspiracy, Christopher Pulichene operated an unlawful capsule distribution community in and all around Ulster, Dutchess, and Saratoga counties, and elsewhere. Pulichene bought heroin tablets from Alton Countryman, who was supported by his spouse, Thekla Countryman, and Joshua Guldy. Alton Countryman produced the heroin pills in his home in Kingston and disguised them to glimpse like pharmaceutical grade oxycodone tablets. The heroin tablets had been blue, spherical, and included the imprint “A 215,” which is located on pharmaceutical grade oxycodone capsules. Pulichene then marketed those heroin capsules to defendants Thomas Colon, Julia Eaton, and Zachary Vanvlack.
Pulichene also obtained methamphetamine tablets disguised as pharmaceutical grade Adderall pills from a source on the West Coast. Similar to the heroin supplements, the methamphetamine pills integrated the very same features as Adderall — the pills had been orange, oval-formed, and bundled the imprint “B 974,” which is located on pharmaceutical grade Adderall supplements. Pulichene then bought individuals methamphetamine tablets to defendants Colon, Eaton, Vanvlack, and Devyn Wolny. Colon then offered the products to Ralph Banking institutions, Jr., and other people.
In the second conspiracy, Pulichene operated an unlawful cocaine distribution network. He obtained cocaine from a resource in the Gulf Coastline and then bought the cocaine to Colon, Eaton, and Wolny for resale to many others. Colon resold the cocaine to Banks, Kevin Drake, Jr., and Nicholas Lasusa.
In addition to the significant portions of prescription drugs that have been recovered, investigators seized 39 firearms, like assault weapons, 40 higher-ability publications, hundreds of rounds of ammunition, riot equipment, and other weapons.
This indictment is made up of 275 counts for different felony narcotics offenses, including a charge in opposition to Pulichene for Operating as a Main Trafficker, which carries a highest sentence of daily life in state jail, and several counts of Legal Sale and Criminal Possession of a Managed Compound (class A and B felonies), as very well as Conspiracy to commit these crimes. Also, Pulichene, Alton Countryman, Banks, and Colon are charged with firearms offenses for some of the firearms that had been seized.
In the second Indictment, Robert Curry is billed with Criminal Possession of a Controlled Compound in the Very first Degree, a class A-I felony, and 3 counts associated with the possession of cocaine which transpired in the metropolis of Kingston in Ulster County.
Those billed in today’s two indictments include things like:
CHRISTOPHER PULICHENE, 39 decades aged, of New Paltz, New York
RALPH Financial institutions, JR., 50 a long time aged, of Saugerties, New York
THOMAS COLON, 60 decades previous, of Saugerties, New York
ALTON COUNTRYMAN, 35 yrs old, of Kingston, New York
THEKLA COUNTRYMAN, 35 many years outdated, of Kingston, New York
ROBERT CURRY, 42 many years old, of Albany, New York
KEVIN DRAKE, JR., 32 many years old, of Kingston, New York
JULIA EATON, 34 years old, of Gansevoort, New York
JOSHUA GULDY, 21 many years previous, of Kingston, New York
NICHOLAS LASUSA, 31 years previous, of Saugerties, New York
ZACHARY VANVLACK, 34 decades previous, of Wappingers Falls, New York
DEVYN WOLNY, 24 years aged, of New Paltz, New York
“Ulster County has witnessed an enhance in drug use, drug overdoses, and gun violence,” explained Ulster County Sheriff Juan J. Figueroa. “This case establishes the require of regional regulation enforcement to collaborate with point out businesses that have the belongings and knowledge of extensive-phrase investigations. The URGENT Process Power, the New York Legal professional General’s Business, and the Arranged Crime Job Drive joined forces to get down drug traffickers and remove medicine and weapons off the streets. This case is the largest seizure of illicit medication in the county’s background. I congratulate the participating organizations of the URGENT Endeavor Power, the Legal professional General’s Structured Criminal offense Undertaking Pressure, and the New York Condition Police for a task properly finished in defending the people of the Hudson Valley.”
“This investigation highlights the significance of ongoing collaboration between legislation enforcement agencies and applying all out there sources to maintain offenders accountable,” claimed Dutchess County Sheriff Kirk Imperati. “I want to thank all of the regulation enforcement partners for their difficult work and dedication pertaining to this investigation to defend Dutchess County communities.”
“I would like to thank our Condition Police Specific Investigations Unit members, the Workplace of the Legal professional Standard, and our law enforcement companions for their devotion and perseverance in this investigation,” claimed New York Point out Law enforcement Superintendent Kevin P. Bruen. “These indictments are a immediate outcome of a collective hard work that has interrupted the distribution of narcotics and weapons in our neighborhoods and has taken perilous people today off our streets. State Police and our associates will carry on to retain our communities safe and sound from such criminals and the destructive situations they generate.”
“This is just one of the greatest drug and gun takedowns in the history of Ulster County,” mentioned Ulster County District Lawyer David J. Clegg. “The trafficking of illegal narcotic medication and the possession of lethal firearms will not be tolerated in our county. We will proceed to perform jointly with the New York Attorney General’s Business Structured Criminal offense Taskforce to keep these twelve men and women accountable to the fullest extent of the law for the unlawful sale and distribution of narcotics, and possession of unlawful firearms. We will proceed to perform tirelessly to consider unsafe drugs and firearms off the streets and continue to keep our community safe.”
“This is a main victory in our attempts to stem the flow of guns, gangs, and medicine into our neighborhood and will produce a devastating blow to these who have been fomenting violence in our streets,” stated Ulster County Government Pat Ryan. “I commend and thank Lawyer Basic Letitia James, the Structured Crime Activity Drive, Ulster County Sheriff Juan Figueroa, the brave users of our Ulster Regional Gang Enforcement Narcotics Workforce (U.R.G.E.N.T.) group, and all people included with this historic procedure. As county govt, I have manufactured it a top rated priority to bolster support to our regulation enforcement businesses, providing in excess of 20 p.c in added funding and employees to our U.R.G.E.N.T. workforce given that getting office. We will not relaxation right up until every single single violent criminal bringing these medications and guns into our community is introduced to justice.”
“Getting these medication and weapons off the avenue and these heinous persons guiding bars is a large phase in direction of victory in our ongoing fight against opioids and gun violence,” mentioned Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro. “We are grateful to the brave men and women of all ages of law enforcement for their continued dedication to cracking down on drug and gun trafficking, especially our personal Dutchess County Drug Undertaking Pressure and the Dutchess County Sheriff’s Workplace, and to Attorney Basic Letitia James for her attempts to prosecute the people today who perpetrate these crimes. We will go on to stand jointly versus all those who would harm our neighborhood for their individual acquire.”
Today’s takedown marks the hottest important drug bust in OAG’s Suburban and Upstate Reaction to the Expanding Epidemic (SURGE) Initiative, a legislation enforcement exertion that brings together point out and community regulation enforcement to focus on New York’s escalating — and often violent — heroin, opioid, and narcotics trafficking networks. Because launching in 2017, SURGE has taken 738 alleged traffickers off the streets.
The charges in opposition to the defendants are just accusations and the defendants are presumed harmless unless of course and until eventually established guilty in a court of law.
The investigation was led by URGENT Investigator Joseph Inventory, under the supervision of URGENT Detective Sergeant Jason Bruck, URGENT Detective Lieutenant Abram Markiewicz, URGENT Commander Jarrid Blades, and OAG OCTF Detective David Walsh, under the supervision of Detective Supervisor Bradford Miller and Performing Assistant Chief Andy Boss. The OAG’s Investigations Division is led by Chief Investigator Oliver Pu-Folkes.
In addition to the regulation enforcement associates detailed previously mentioned, Lawyer Basic James would also like to thank the Dutchess County Drug Undertaking Pressure, which is led by Coordinator Detective Sergeant Adam Harris, the New York Condition Police Distinctive Investigations Device, and the Homeland Safety Investigations-Hudson Valley Office environment for their aid in the course of the investigation.
The scenario is staying prosecuted by OAG OCTF Assistant Deputy Lawyer General Griffin C. Kenyon, with the assistance of Exclusive Assistant Deputy Lawyer Common Shanza Malik and Special Assistant Deputy Attorney Basic John L. Mason of the Ulster County District Attorney’s Office, and OCTF Lawful Help Analyst Santiago Molina. ADAG Kenyon is underneath the supervision of Downstate OCTF Deputy Main Lauren Abinanti. Nicole Keary is the Deputy Attorney Typical in Cost of OCTF. The Division for Felony Justice is led by Chief Deputy Lawyer Typical José Maldonado and overseen by Very first Deputy Legal professional Typical Jennifer Levy.