Fathers and sons. Husbands and wives.
Police and prosecutors on Thursday described two interlaced drug conspiracies and their suppliers, tied together by business and blood. The task force of agencies led by state police and the Orange County District Attorney's Office announced “Operation Family Ties,” a nine-month investigation that culminated Monday with 34 arrests and 16 search warrants executed in Newburgh, New Windsor, Port Jervis, the Town of Plattekill in Ulster County and in the Bronx.
Police say they seized a total of 521.5 grams of cocaine, 43.91 grams of heroin, 8.21 pounds of marijuana, five ounces of PCP, $111,056 in cash, a stolen .45 caliber pistol, and a 12-gauge shotgun.
“These are drugs that never made it to the streets,” said state police Maj. David Krause.
Three suspects are still at large. One of them, 39-year-old Jermaine Boykin of Newburgh, should be considered armed and dangerous, Orange County District Attorney David Hoovler said.
Krause and Hoovler laid out the workings of the conspiracies.
The investigation started at 170 Carson Ave. in the City of Newburgh, where the drug operation was dubbed “Carson's Casino” because buyers could have their choice of cocaine, heroin, and PCP, Hoovler said.
“It was pretty much anything goes,” he said.
The Carson operation was led by Lamont Williams Sr., 45, of the hamlet of Wallkill, and Lamont Williams Jr., 27, of Port Jervis, officials said. The location had been a problem for “a considerable period of time,” Hoovler said.
Police say the two employed numerous people, many of them family members, to sell various drugs.
“You had brothers and you had family members who were part of this,” Hoovler said.
Hoovler and Krause said the investigation led to the Williams' suppliers: another drug-trafficking organization run out of 117 Mill St. by Ramon Rivera, 45, of Newburgh, who was in turn supplied some of his drugs by Ruben Cruz, 52, of New Windsor. Officials say Rivera's son Raymond, 25, and Cruz's wife, Nancy Cruz, 46, were also part of the conspiracy.
The operation also had tendrils farther south. Earnest Washington, 59, of the Bronx is accused of supplying the PCP to the Williams organization.
“It's the largest PCP dealer that we've seen in a long time in the City of Newburgh,” Hoovler said.
The two groups operated all through Orange County, Hoovler said.
“This was an ongoing, daily trade,” Krause said.
Going after these large, complex conspiracies will be the new normal in Orange County, Hoovler said.
“We have to approach it on a large scale. You can't just take out one piece,” he said. “You're going to continue to see this kind of case here in Orange County while I'm district attorney.”
Hoovler and Krause said these operations require planning and skill needed by police to safely and effectively pull off the coordinated investigations, arrests and searches necessary to break the criminal enterprises.
As the case progressed, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the Town of New Windsor Police, the Town of Newburgh Police, the City of Port Jervis Police Department, and the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance joined the investigation and aided in the execution of the search warrants.
The first priority for police and prosecutors is to attack the supply of drugs, Hoovler said. Second is education to steer people away from drugs; last steering addicts to treatment. He said his office will continue to use every tool available to go after drug dealers: wiretaps, civil forfeiture, and whatever criminal charges are applicable.
“The heroin, the cocaine, the PCP – they kill people,” Hoovler said.
By Heather Yakin [email protected]
By James Nani [email protected]