Major NY Capital Region Drug Ring Taken Down
JUN 13 -- (Albany, NY) Multi-agency crackdown “Operation Family Tree” leads to the largest drug seizure in the Capital Region in recent history: nearly 20 pounds of cocaine with a street value in excess of $1 Million and 140 pounds of marijuana worth $700k were seized.
John P. Gilbride, the Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York Office of the United States Drug Enforcement Administration ("DEA") and Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo announced the indictments of 19 individuals accused of taking part in organized narcotics distribution rings and peddling more than 20 pounds of cocaine carrying a street value of over $1 million, and 140 pounds of marijuana worth $700,000, in the Capital Region yesterday. The investigation also led to the seizure of an assault rifle, several handguns, cash, drug paraphernalia and expensive jewelry.
DEA Special Agent in Charge John P. Gilbride said, “This investigation has successfully dismantled a drug trafficking organization stemming from New York City to the New York Capital Region. Millions of dollars worth of illicit narcotics were seized and taken off the streets and out of the reach of our children due to this collaborative law enforcement effort.”
The indictments unsealed in both Albany and Schenectady County Courts are the result of a multi-agency investigation known as “Operation Family Tree,” conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the New York State Office of the Attorney General, the New York State Police, the Albany Police Department and the Watervliet Police Department.
Grand juries charged 15 people from the Capital Region, three from New York City and one from New Jersey for their alleged roles supplying or taking part in connected drug operations in Schenectady and Albany. Charges include sale and possession of controlled substances and marijuana, weapons and conspiracy. The drugs were allegedly supplied from the Bronx, NY.
“My Upstate Guns, Gangs and Drugs Initiative continues to strike at the heart of crime in our communities,” said Attorney General Cuomo. “By coordinating local, state and federal law enforcement entities into a cohesive and unified front, we have struck another major blow to the Capital Region illicit drug trade. The amount of drugs obtained from this investigation represents the largest seizure of narcotics linked to drug rings in the Capital Region in years. We will continue to work together throughout the state to curb the flow of drugs from New York City into our upstate communities.”
Schenectady County District Attorney Robert Carney said, “Drug trafficking operations originating in New York City have expanded into our upstate communities. However, New York law enforcement agencies on every level, led by Attorney General Cuomo’s Upstate Guns, Gangs and Drugs Initiative, are up to the challenge. Through an organized effort, we worked together to bring down these highly organized drug rings. I thank Attorney General Cuomo and all my colleagues for helping to better our communities.”
Albany County District Attorney David Soares said, “I applaud the Organized Crime Task Force for shutting down another pipeline of drugs coming into the capital district. This is just another example of federal, state and local agencies all working together to keep drugs off our streets and out of our neighborhoods.”
Schenectady Mayor Brian Stratton said, “By working together, our communities can benefit from the shared resources that are critical in the battle against crime. Thanks to Attorney General Cuomo’s Upstate Guns, Gangs and Drugs Initiative; we have the tools needed to rid our neighborhoods of deadly narcotics. I look forward to continuing to work with the Attorney General’s Office and other community law enforcement to make our cities safer.”
Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings said, “Today's announcement is a clear example of how effective law enforcement agencies can be when working collectively together. Attorney General Cuomo's focus on Upstate Guns, Gangs and Drugs and coordinating the efforts with local law enforcement is having a positive impact on our communities in the Capital Region.”
Watervliet Mayor Michael Manning said, “Thanks to the hard work of various law enforcement agencies under the leadership of Attorney General Cuomo’s Organized Crime Task Force, another network of deadly narcotics in the Capital Region has been cut off. The scourge of drug trafficking from the New York City region to upstate communities continues to pose a threat to our neighborhoods and our children. However, it is a threat that we are eliminating by working together and pooling our resources.”
Superintendent of the New York State Police Harry J. Corbitt said, “The combined efforts of federal, state, and local law enforcement have resulted in a significant seizure of cash, illegal narcotics and weapons from within the Capital District. The investigative efforts in this case have resulted in the arrests of many dangerous individuals and sends a strong message to all those involved in the trafficking of narcotics and weapons, that New York State will not tolerate these threats in our communities.”
According to court papers, Walter Smiley, 35, of Broadway in Rotterdam, was involved in distributing cocaine and marijuana in the Schenectady and Albany areas. On March 2 and April 11, approximately four kilograms of cocaine were allegedly couriered to Smiley from his Bronx supplier, Jose Antonia Mena, a/k/a “Tone,” 31. Smiley then allegedly distributed two kilograms to a single customer in the Schenectady County area and intended to sell the other two. Smiley was also in charge of an organized marijuana ring where he supplied it to lower-level distributors for sale in the Capital Region.
Jawon DiCarlo, 28, of Pinehurst Ave. in Albany, received cocaine deliveries at his residence from a supplier in the Bronx, Juan Molina, 27, who came with a driver to Albany to deliver the narcotics. Michael Weaver, Jr., 23, of 7th Street in Watervliet traveled to and from the Bronx to obtain cocaine with intent to sell in the Albany County area.
Weaver also supplied Brian Mainville, 34, with cocaine that Mainville also intended to sell.
The Grand Juries charged Smiley, Luis A. Galarza, a/k/a “Papi”, Luis H. Galarza, Christopher Flint, Earl Jameison, Mena, DiCarlo, Molina, and Jose Potter with Possession and/or Sale of a controlled substance in the First-Degree (class A-1 felony), a crime punishable by up to 20 years in prison on a first offense. Weaver, Mainville, Michael Weaver, Sr. and Slade Schaffer are charged with Possession and/or Sale of controlled substance in the Third-Degree (class B felony), which carries a maximum sentence of nine years in prison. Bruce Sims is charged with Conspiracy in the Second-Degree (class B felony), which carries a maximum 25 years in prison.
Smiley, Dillan Francis, Carl Warren, KeJay Garland, Robert Aubrey, and Michael Schermerhorn were charged with Sale and/or Possession of Marijuana in the First-Degree (class C felony) which carries a maximum penalty of 5 ½ years in prison.
Those indicted and their alleged roles:
Seized during the investigation:
The charges against the defendants are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.