North County Marijuana Trafficking Organization Rubbed Out
JUL 01 -- JOHN P. GILBRIDE, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s New York Field Division (“DEA”), DEREK P. CHAMPAGNE, County District Attorney and NICOLE DUVE, St. Lawrence County District Attorney announced today the culmination of a two (2) year investigation into the smuggling and distribution of large quantities of marihuana through Franklin County and St. Lawrence County to the Cleveland Ohio area.
In 2008 an Investigator for the City of Beachwood (Ohio) teamed up with the City of Reminderville Police Department on an investigation into alleged Russian Organized crime in the Cleveland Area. Under the direction of Chief Jeffrey Buck the investigators determined that the organization was receiving large amounts of marihuana from New York State. Further investigation revealed bi-weekly shipments from Franklin and St. Lawrence County and the Ohio Investigators identified Daniel Simonds of Stockholm as making deliveries in the Cleveland Area. During the Investigation Mr. Simonds was the victim of a homicide on May 13 th, 2008 in St. Lawrence County. The Ohio investigators continued there surveillance and remained in contact with the St. Lawrence County Drug Taskforce and the Drug Enforcement Administration (Plattsburgh Field Office).
In early 2009 the Ohio Investigators contacted the Franklin County Narcotics/Border Task Force (FCNBTF) with confirmation that multiple shipments were originating from Franklin County. The Ohio Investigators traveled to Franklin County and met with members of the FCNBTF and the Franklin County District Attorney’s office to formulate and implement a joint investigation aimed at identifying the suspected marihuana traffickers in both Franklin and St Lawrence Counties.
The Drug Enforcement Administration’s Major Traffickers Taskforce (which was established to transition us into the HIDTA designation) led the investigation jointly with the New York State Police, the Franklin County District Attorney’s Office and the Ohio Departments who sent six officers to New York to work as Special Investigators for the District Attorney.
The individuals under surveillance were quickly found to be not only supplying areas in Ohio but also several other areas of New York State and the Northeast. As a result of this joint investigation law enforcement officers were able to obtain three search warrants (June 15, 2009) for private residences in the towns of Dickinson and Waverly in Franklin County and the town of Hopkinton in St Lawrence County and a fourth search warrant for a business located in St Regis Falls, also in Franklin County. Simultaneously, our partners in this case in Ohio executed in excess of ten search warrants on private residences, safe deposit boxes and businesses in Ohio. The joint investigation resulted in the arrest of eight people thus far and the seizure of over 2 million dollars in assets. These assets include over $1.3 million dollars in US currency, 14 vehicles, 2 utility trailers, 3 ATV’s 1 Snowmobile and 1 boat. State and Federal officials are continuing the asset investigation and further seizures are anticipated.
The execution of the search warrants in New York also yielded a pound of cocaine which would provide approximately 400 individual doses, if sold separately.
The participating agencies in this case included:
United States Attorney’s Office
This case is the most recent example of extent and the magnitude of the illicit marihuana trade passing thru the North Country. Ohio is just one of the 31 States that have been identified by the task force as having been directly linked to currency, drugs or other criminal activity and Franklin or St. Lawrence County.
In this case in a one year period in excess of 18 loads were confirmed between Franklin County and Ohio with the average load having a street value in excess of $500,000 US currency. The organization has been operating in excess of 2-3 years allowing for an approximate street value of $18 to $27 million during the known period of operation.
The following people have been charged locally but the investigation is continuing and further State and Federal Charges will be filed:
DEFENDANT : CHARGES:
FRASER, HAROLD J Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance 1 st
FRASER, SABRINA Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance 1 st
VOTRA, WILLIAM F Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance 1 st
LANGDON, RANDY Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance 3 rd
ROSA, JOVANE R Criminal possession of Marihuana 1 st
SORIN, KONSTANTIN B Attempted Possession of Marihuana 1 st
SCHMID, ASHLEY R Attempted Possession of Marihuana 1 st
VEVERKA, MARK A Attempted Possession of Marihuana 1 st