Federal and State Law Enforcement Agencies Target Methamphetamine Traffickers and Producers
SYRACUSE, NEW YORK –Interstate methamphetamine traffickers and local producers face federal and state charges in a series of cases that resulted in the arrests of 31 people in September.
The announcement was made by Acting United States Attorney Grant C. Jaquith, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Agent in Charge James J. Hunt of the New York Division, Postal Inspector in Charge Shelly Binkowski, New York State Police Superintendent George P. Beach II and Tioga County District Attorney Kirk Martin.
30 of the charged defendants are residents of Broome, Jefferson, Lewis, Oneida, Onondaga, Oswego, and Tioga Counties, and one defendant is a resident of Arizona.
“Whether produced locally or brought here from other states and countries, methamphetamine wreaks havoc on our communities. It destroys the health of those who use it, and its addicts often commit other crimes. Thanks to the outstanding cooperation among our local, state, and federal law enforcement partners, 31 people have been charged with peddling this poison and possessing pseudoephedrine knowing it would be used to make methamphetamine. We will continue to work together to arrest and convict those who traffic in this deadly drug,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Grant C. Jaquith.
DEA Special Agent in Charge James J. Hunt stated, “Recently, methamphetamine abuse has been overshadowed by opioid abuse in the press, but it is nonetheless just as deadly and addictive. DEA and our law enforcement partners are committed to increasing awareness of the dangers associated with methamphetamine use; and these investigations demonstrate our collective efforts to rid Upstate New York of methamphetamine and other dangerous drugs.”
Postal Inspector in Charge Shelly Binkowski stated, “The U.S. Postal Inspection Service and our law enforcement partners will continue to dedicate the resources necessary to keep methamphetamine producers and traffickers out of our communities. The arrest of these individuals demonstrates our commitment to keeping these and other highly addictive drugs from destroying lives.”
New York State Police Superintendent George P. Beach II said, “These arrests are a direct result of the combined efforts of Federal, state, and local law enforcement to rid New York of local and interstate methamphetamine heroin trafficking operations. This sends a strong message to drug dealers throughout the country that New York State will not tolerate drugs in its communities. These efforts will ultimately rid our communities of methamphetamine and its associated dangers.”
The charges resulting from three independent investigations are summarized below.
September 19, 2017 Pseudoephedrine Arrests
On September 19, 2017, the DEA and New York State Police arrested the following nine people who had been charged with possessing pseudoephedrine, an over-the-counter drug, knowing that it would be used to make methamphetamine:
Brett Clifton, 19, Lyons Falls, NY
Leann Evans, 28, Rome, NY
Mark Myers, 54, Blossvale, NY
Brittany DeKay, 37, Blossvale, NY
Michael Hoke, 37, Utica, NY
Scott Leisner, 48, Sylvan Beach, NY
Alyssa Moleski, 21, Cicero, NY
Joseph Palladino, 48, Carthage, NY
James Mayhew, 39, Watertown, NY
On September 26, 2017, a tenth person, Zachary Mazur, 29, Utica, NY, was arrested.
If convicted, these defendants face up to 20 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000 and terms of supervised release of up to three years.
September 20, 2017 Operation Hail Storm Arrests
On September 20, 2017, as part of “Operation Hailstorm,” an investigation targeting interstate and local methamphetamine trafficking, the DEA, the United States Postal Inspection Service, the New York State Police, and the Broome County Special Investigations Unit Drug Task Force arrested the following nine people who had been charged in a federal indictment with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distribution of methamphetamine:
Alonzo Lamar Harris, a/k/a “L” 42, of Youngstown, Arizona
Charles Green, a/k/a “C” 42, of Endicott, New York
Akuan Johnson, a/k/a “Bleek” 38, of Binghamton, New York
Vincent Harrell, a/k/a “VI” 39, of Endicott, New York
Kenneth Wilson, a/k/a “KB” 46, of Endicott, New York
Rachel Millard, a/k/a “R” 30, of Endicott, New York
Jolene Barrett, 41, of Johnson City, New York
Misti Evans, 37, of Endicott, New York
Amanda Kamp, 37, of Deposit, New York
On September 26, 2017, a tenth person, Jerome Bell, 35, of Binghamton, New York was arrested. If convicted, all of the defendants, except Amanda Kamp, face sentences of at least ten years and up to life in prison, a fine of up to $10 million, and a term of supervised release of at least 5 years and up to life. If convicted, Johnson, Harrell, Wilson, and Bell could face enhanced penalties because of their prior convictions. If convicted, Kamp faces up to 20 years in prison, a fine of up to $1 million, and a term of supervised release of at least 3 years and up to life.
Harris, Green, Bell, Johnson, and Millard are also charged with conspiracy to launder drug proceeds and, if convicted, face up to 20 years in prison, a fine of up to $500,000, and a term of supervised release of up to three years.
On September 20, 2017, an eleventh defendant, Robert Patton, 39, of Waverly, New York was charged by the Tioga County District Attorney with criminal possession of a controlled substance, second degree.
Law enforcement officers seized approximately 6 pounds of methamphetamine, more than $60,000 of cash, three handguns, and three vehicles.
September 28, 2017 Pseudoephedrine Arrests
Today, the DEA and New York State Police arrested the following 10 people who had been charged with possessing pseudoephedrine, an over-the-counter drug, knowing that it would be used to make methamphetamine:
Arthur LaDuke, 45, North Syracuse, NY
Brittany Peck, 28, Richland, NY
Christine Morey, 32, West Monroe, NY
Donald Burdick, 59, West Monroe, NY
Edward Bennett, 32, Pulaski, NY
Elizabeth Kairis, 22, Cicero, NY
Leann Harrison, 58, West Monroe, NY
Lindsey Creiman, 36, Cicero, NY
Loren Redhead, 30, Pulaski, NY
Mary Jean Pugh, 40, Pulaski, NY
If convicted, these defendants face up to 20 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000 and a term of supervised release of up to three years.
The charges in the indictment are merely accusations. The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
A defendant’s sentence is imposed by a judge based on the particular statute the defendant is charged with violating, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other factors.
These cases are being investigated by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration-Syracuse Resident Office, the United States Postal Inspection Service, the New York State Police, the City of Cortland Police Department, the Broome County SIU Drug Task Force, including the Vestal Police Department, Endicott Police Department, Binghamton Police Department, Johnson City Police Department, Waverly Police Department, Broome County Sheriff’s Office, and Tioga County Sherriff’s Office and are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Carl Eurenius and Nicolas Commandeur and Tioga County District Attorney Kirk Martin.