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News Release
May 6, 2005
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contacts:
Elizabeth Jordan
Drug Enforcement Administration
(212) 337-2906

GOVERNOR: OPERATION IMPACT
FIGHTS CRIME IN
ROCKLAND

More Than 30 Individuals Arrested In Spring Valley for Drug Sales, Possession and Conspiracies; Operations Netted the Seizure of More than $400,000 in Illegal Drugs

Standing : Members of the Rockland County Task Force
Seated : (L-R) Chauncy Parker, Director of Criminal Justice Services NYS and Michael E. Bongiorno, District Attorney,Rockland County

Governor George E. Pataki today announced that Rockland County's most recent undercover Operation IMPACT efforts have led to the arrest of more than 30 individuals for engaging in narcotics sales, narcotic conspiracies and other serious criminal activity in Rockland County.

Earlier this week, members of the Rockland County Narcotics Task Force, Spring Valley Police Department, New York State Police, New York City Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration concluded a 10-month undercover operation and arrested 35 individuals for illegal drug operations. These defendants are in custody at the Rockland County Jail. Separately, 2 defendants remain in federal custody awaiting arraignment on federal charges. T he arrests, which were made on Wednesday morning, resulted in the seizure of more than 8 kilos of cocaine, 2.5 lbs of marihuana and 1 ounce of heroin. The street value for all of the drugs seized is more than $400,000. An illegal weapon was also confiscated.

“Operation IMPACT brings together state, local and federal personnel and resources to fight crime where it is needed the most,” Governor Pataki said. “Since last spring, the first phase of IMPACT in Rockland has featured undercover operations targeting illegal drug operations and street violence, and the arrests made earlier this week show just how successful this program has been. The Spring Valley Police Department and Rockland County District Attorney’s Office have been great leaders in the effort to crack down on illegal drugs and other quality-of-life crimes. Our state, local and federal law enforcement agencies will continue to work with Chief Furco and District Attorney Bongiorno to make sure that every person in the Village of Spring Valley can walk the streets without fear.”

“ New York is already the safest large state in the nation. By working together through Operation IMPACT, I know we can make New York the safest of any state in America,” the Governor added.

Director of Criminal Justice Chauncey G. Parker said, "Operation IMPACT is one of many critical tools Governor Pataki has provided law enforcement agencies to reduce crime and make our cities safer. Attacking crime in specific communities through a concentrated, coordinated effort of multi-jurisdictional law enforcement services is the best way to make our neighborhoods safe for our families.”

Rockland’s IMPACT

The Rockland County IMPACT task force is coordinated by the District Attorney's Office and the Spring Valley Police Department. The task force consists of, among others, New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services; New York State Division of Parole; New York State Police; Rockland County Probation Department; Rockland County Intelligence Center and the County Narcotics Task Force; U.S. Attorney's Office; Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA); Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms and Explosives (ATF). In 2004 Rockland County received a total of $166,523 from the State for IMPACT. In 2005, Rockland County is eligible to apply for a total of $266,600 to continue and expand their IMPACT operations.

The Rockland County IMPACT task force has created an Anti-Crime Unit (ACU) within the Village of Spring Valley Police Department to oversee the multi-phase strategy, which is driven by a comprehensive gathering of intelligence from suspects. Since its inception last summer, the IMPACT strategy has focused on proactive policing and undercover operations and has expanded to include joint patrols by the Village of Spring Valley Police Department and the New York State Police.

The specific goals of the Rockland County IMPACT strategy include reducing crimes of opportunity, reducing crimes that affect quality-of-life and reducing violent crime. IMPACT task force partners have conducted undercover gun, prostitution, and drug buyer beware operations. Parole officers have conducted bar checks and parolee visits in the areas where known criminal conduct occurs. To complement this strategy, a tips line has been developed to solicit investigative leads from the public.

In addition to this week’s arrests, since operations began in Spring Valley in May 2004, the Anti-Crime Unit has made more than 600 arrests for drug and quality-of-life offenses, and 10 guns have been seized.

Rockland County District Attorney Michael E. Bongiorno said, “These cases are a perfect example of law enforcement agencies that work together can succeed and take-down a narcotics network that cuts across jurisdictional boundaries. I applaud Governor Pataki for creating Operation IMPACT and for providing the leadership that law enforcement needs to coordinate efforts in the ongoing mission to reduce crime.”

Spring Valley Police Chief Anthony Furco said, “Operation IMPACT has stressed the importance of interagency cooperation and encouraged the formulation of lasting law enforcement partnerships. The overwhelming success of these endeavors, conducted after the implementation of Operation IMPACT proves that is a true success story with very attainable goals. Governor Pataki should be commended for his vision of collaborative law enforcement cooperation to make our neighborhoods safer.”

Operation IMPACT

Operation IMPACT was first announced during the 2004 State of the State Address. Designed to assist the areas of New York State with disproportionately high crime rates, IMPACT originally targeted the 15 counties ( Albany , Broome, Dutchess, Erie , Monroe, Nassau , Niagara , Oneida , Onondaga, Orange , Rensselaer , Rockland , Schenectady , Suffolk and Westchester ) that accounted for 80% of the crime outside of New York City . In the 2005 State of the State Address, Governor Pataki expanded Operation IMPACT to enhance operations in the original 15 IMPACT counties, to bring new IMPACT operations and resources to other parts of the state designated as crime "hot spots" through crime mapping and analysis, and to make an additional 100 State Troopers available for IMPACT operations (bringing the total commitment of State Troopers to 400).

Key state resources available through Operation IMPACT include: New York State Police IMPACT Units (officers who specialize in gang, gun and drug-trafficking crimes) and Division of Parole personnel to assist local law enforcement agencies in reducing violent street crime. Other state agencies that are full partners in IMPACT, lending their expertise and resources to all target counties, are the Division of Criminal Justice Services, Division of Probation and Correctional Alternatives, the Department of Taxation and Finance, the Office of Children and Family Services and the State Liquor Authority, among others.

Since IMPACT operations began, murder in the targeted 15 IMPACT cities is down by nearly 20%, robbery in the IMPACT cities is down nearly 10%, and overall crime in the 15 original IMPACT counties has declined 4%.  And, in 2004, Rochester -- the first IMPACT site launched and the first city in New York State to implement Ceasefire, an innovative crime reduction strategy -- had one-third fewer murders, including a 70% drop in murders of the most at-risk portion of the population, young African American men.

Under the Governor’s recently announced partnerships with John Jay College -- which is working in concert with the Rochester Institute of Technology --the Ceasefire initiative will be implemented in other key IMPACT sites across the state. In addition, crime analysts from UAlbany are working in other IMPACT sites to help them better understand and respond to their crime problems.

Over the past ten years, violent crime in New York State has been cut in half and crime is at its lowest levels since statewide crime reporting began - nearly 40 years ago. In 1994, New York State was the sixth most violent state in the nation. Today, a decade later, New York is the seventh safest state overall, and the safest large state in the nation.

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