WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - Local and state officials have busted 3 “major drug trafficking rings” that funneled heroin, fentanyl, and cocaine to Jefferson County.
The investigation, dubbed “Operation Heat Wave,” has led to the indictments 54 people; 46 of them are from Jefferson County.
The announcement was made Thursday by state Attorney General Letitia James.
The suspects have been indicted on felony counts of criminal sale and criminal possession of a controlled substance and conspiracy to commit those crimes.
The suspects include:
- Jason Agosto, 36, Watertown, NY
- Ricardo Agosto, 43, Puerto Rico
- Corey Aldrich, 29, Clayton, NY
- Timothy Alexander, 58, Lafargeville, NY
- Hector Rivera Arroyo, 32, New Jersey
- Eunique Atkinson, 33, Watertown, NY
- Curtis Betances, 30, Watertown, NY
- Daniel Borg, 42, Watertown, NY
- Stephanie Bryan, 35, Evans Mills, NY
- Larry Butcher, 40, Watertown, NY
- William Carrigan, 69, Watertown, NY
- Chastity Collins, 41, Watertown, NY
- Gregory Cox, 33, Glen Park, NY
- Xavier Drayton, 32, Watertown, NY
- Kristina Finney, 27, Watertown, NY
- Robin Foley, 57, Watertown, NY
- Daniel Fraser, 45, Watertown, NY
- Antoine Gary, 47, Watertown, NY
- Tyree Gary, a/k/a “Teek,” 28, Watertown, NY
- Darius Guillebeaux, a/k/a “D Block,” 46, Watertown, NY
- Jarvis Hines, 37, Watertown, NY
- Nathaniel Killborn, 23, Clayton, NY
- Stanley Kims, 37, Watertown, NY
- Andrew Knowles, 32, Watertown, NY
- Phillip Lavalley, 42, Watertown, NY
- Casey Lehman, 41, Watertown, NY
- Jamal Lynch, 39, Calcium, NY
- Brittany Mallette, 29, Watertown, NY
- Colin Marshall, 28, Watertown, NY
- Ryan Martin, 34, Watertown, NY
- Kavon Mason, 32, Watertown, NY
- Carlos Matos, 39, Watertown, NY
- Arelyne Minier, 23, New York, NY
- Jonna Murdock, 51, Evans Mills, NY
- Maxine Nunez, 30, Bronx, NY
- Adrian Paris, 32, Watertown, NY
- Raymond Perez, 29, Watertown, NY
- Amber Pitcher, 34, Rutland, NY
- Doreen Salerno, 46, Watertown, NY
- Ethan Sargent, 38, Watertown, NY
- Everette Saunders, 31, Watertown, NY
- Drew Schroy, 25, Watertown, NY
- Steven Seavolt, 49, Watertown, NY
- Curtney Smith, 30, Watertown, NY
- Troy Stewart, 43, Evans Mills, NY
- Andrew Stoby, 39, Watertown, NY
- Troy Thomas, a/k/a “Harlem,” 41, Watertown, NY
- Jordan Torres, a/k/a “City,” 29, Bronx, NY
- Jessica Tousley, 41, Watertown, NY
- Rashay Whitfield, 39, Watertown, NY
- Kevin Whitner, 42, Philadelphia, PA
- James Williams, a/k/a “Dizzy,” a/k/a “Diz,” 27, Utica, NY
- Christina Woodward, 41, New Jersey
- Jeffrey Young, 44, Black River, NY
During “Operation Heat Wave,” authorities seized nearly 3 kilograms of cocaine, hundreds of bags of heroin, fentanyl, and dozens of oxycodone and hydrocodone pills.
Officials said the investigation led to the recovery of roughly 850 bags of heroin mixed with fentanyl and 65 grams of heroin, which could be broken down into another 650 bags for sale with a street value of approximately $15,500, and nearly 3 kilos of cocaine with a street value of more than $300,000.
“We have witnessed firsthand the devastating consequences that heroin and fentanyl have had on communities throughout New York,” said James in a prepared statement. “These individuals allegedly flooded the North Country with this lethal cocktail of drugs and prescription pills, putting countless people in harm’s way.”
The 2-year joint investigation, led by the AG’s Organized Crime Task Force, included hundreds of hours of physical and covert surveillance and court-authorized wiretaps.
During the course of the wiretapping, officials said the suspects and their co-conspirators frequently used coded and cryptic terminology in an attempt to disguise their illicit activities; such as referring to seven-gram narcotics transactions as “Michael Vick” or “Kevin Durant,” in reference to the two sports players' jersey number.
The first indictment is comprised of six defendants accused of selling narcotics in Jefferson and Queens Counties. As alleged in the indictment, Darius Guillebeaux, a/k/a “D Block,” who resides in Queens County, was a narcotics source for Carlos Matos, Drew Schroy, and Raymond Perez in Jefferson County. Andrew Knowles served as another cocaine source for Matos, and Curtis Betances was also a Jefferson County narcotics reseller.
The second indictment is comprised of 23 defendants accused of selling narcotics in Jefferson County. This group was headed by Jordan Torres, a/k/a “City,” who served as a narcotics supply source for numerous drug dealers in the area. Both Arelyne Minier and Stephanie Bryan assisted Torres with his narcotics distributions, and Torres' girlfriend, Maxine Nunez, received drug proceeds on his behalf. The other narcotics resellers in the group were Corey Aldrich, Eunique Atkinson, William Carrigan, Gregory Cox, Xavier Drayton, Antoine Gary, Stanley Kims, Phillip Lavalley, Brittany Mallette, Colin Marshall, Ethan Sargent, Everette Saunders, Andrew Stoby, Troy Thomas, a/k/a “Harlem,” Rashay Whitfield, James Williams, a/k/a “Dizzy,” a/k/a “Diz,” and Christina Woodward. During this investigation, Daniel Borg was identified as a heroin source for Eunique Atkinson.
The third indictment is comprised of 25 defendants accused of selling narcotics in Jefferson County. The central figure of the group was Tyree Gary, a/k/a “Teek,” and the primary cocaine source was Ricardo Agosto of Puerto Rico with assistance from Hector Rivera Arroyo. Jason Agosto, who resides in Jefferson County, was another supply source for several members of the group, and Larry Butcher is also charged with selling both cocaine and pills with partners Kavon Mason and Ricardo Agosto. Jarvis Hines was a narcotics source for Teek, and the other resellers in the group include Timothy Alexander, Chastity Collins, Robin Foley, Daniel Fraser, Nathan Killborn, Casey Lehman, Jamal Lynch, Ryan Martin, Jonna Murdock, Adrian Paris, Amber Pitcher, Doreen Salerno, Steven Seavolt, Curtney Smith, Troy Stewart, Jessica Tousley, Kevin Whitner, and Jeffrey Young.
The multi-agency investigation brought together the resources of more than a dozen federal, state, and local enforcement agencies, including the Metro-Jeff Drug Task Force, Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, Watertown Police Department, St. Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office, Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office, New York State Police, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement, U.S. Border Patrol, United States Army, Criminal Investigations Division, U.S. Marshals Service, Syracuse Police Department, and New York City Police Department.
“This is one of the biggest, if not the biggest drug investigation and detail that I’ve been involved in, and I’ve been in law enforcement for 34 years. Once this started, there were no vacations, there were no days off. There was a lot of missed family time for these investigators and detectives from the agencies that were involved. Their commitment is really remarkable," said Jefferson County Sheriff Colleen O’Neill.
“A lot of people seem to think the drugs aren’t hurting anybody and that drug dealing is a victimless crime, but obviously it isn’t. The deaths, the overdoses we’ve seen over the recent years, it’s unacceptable. Fortunately, this investigation has worked out very well. Like the sheriff mentioned, we didn’t even have one instance of resisting arrest, no force was used on anyone, which is the way we always want it," said Watertown Police Chief Charles Donoghue.
Officials said 30 people were actually arrested and arraigned on Thursday. Of those 30, 23 were released. Seven were sent to the Jefferson County Jail.
The case is being prosecuted by the state.