Attorney General James Busts Three Drug Trafficking Operations in the North Country
54 Individuals Charged with Trafficking Hundreds of Bags of
Heroin, Fentanyl, and Nearly 3 Kilograms of Cocaine
WATERTOWN – Attorney General Letitia James today announced the indictment of 54 individuals charged with conspiring in three major drug trafficking rings that funneled heroin, fentanyl, and cocaine to Jefferson County in the North Country. The investigation, dubbed “Operation Heat Wave,” seized nearly three kilograms of cocaine, hundreds of bags of heroin, fentanyl, and dozens of Oxycodone and Hydrocodone pills. As alleged in the three indictments unsealed in Jefferson County Court today, 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 three kilograms 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 Attorney General James. “These individuals allegedly flooded the North Country with this lethal cocktail of drugs and prescription pills, putting countless people in harm’s way. We will be undeterred in our efforts to go after anyone who tries to profit off of peddling illicit drugs to New Yorkers, and I thank our partners in law enforcement for their support in keeping our communities safe.”
The two-year joint investigation, led by the Attorney General’s Organized Crime Task Force (OCTF), included hundreds of hours of physical and covert surveillance and court-authorized wiretaps. During the course of the wiretapping, the defendants 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.
Today’s takedown is the latest in the Attorney General’s Suburban and Upstate Response to the Growing Epidemic (SURGE) Initiative to root out violent drug trafficking. Since its launch in 2017, SURGE has taken 608 alleged traffickers off the streets.
Led by OCTF, this 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.
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 health and safety of our communities depends greatly on getting dangerous drugs off our streets,” said State Senator Patty Ritchie. “Today’s news will take us one step closer towards our goal of stopping the spread of these substances in our region, and I would like to thank all who played a role, especially our dedicated law enforcement officials.”
“Drug dealers prey on the addicted and today we salute the men and women who are bringing them to justice,” said Assemblymember Mark Walczyk. “Operations like this take a great deal of behind the scenes work, on the street effort, and patience. The Metro-Jeff Drug Task Force and all the partner agencies should be applauded for coordinating to get these dangerous substances off our streets and safeguarding the community from those who mean to do harm.”
“Great job by local Law enforcement and the City of Watertown Police Department for working with Attorney General Letitia James and multiple state and federal agencies in this effort to take down a large-scale drug operation in Watertown and Jefferson County,” said Watertown Mayor Jeff Smith. “That is why the city of Watertown will always support our local police and law enforcement.”
“The Watertown Police Department would like to thank the New York State Attorney General’s Office for making this operation possible,” said City of Watertown Police Chief Charles Donoghue. “We would also like to thank our local partners, the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office, the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office, and the New York State Police for their dedication to the citizens of our city and our county. We want the public to know that we do not consider dealing drugs to be a victimless crime. The drug overdoses and drug deaths in recent years are facilitated by drug dealers. The harm done to drug users and their families is immeasurable, and we want to send a message that there is a price to pay for poisoning the citizens of our city and our county.”
“The success of Operation Heat Wave lands squarely on the committed law enforcement officers that took the time and effort to put together an amazing case that takes the worst of our society off the streets — drug dealers,” said Jefferson County Sheriff Colleen O’Neill. “If illegal drugs and addiction hasn’t affected your family or friends, consider yourself very lucky. Schools, businesses, mental health resources, medical facilities, your taxes and everyday households all feel the negative impact these defendants bring to our community. The cooperative effort of this long, complicated investigation is a true testament of the exceptional working relationship all of law enforcement in our community. We are lucky to live and work here knowing that behind the scenes, work is always being done to protect us. The level of talent and commitment of those leading this charge is remarkable and I am honored to lead an agency that cares so much about the welfare of those in our community. Nobody breaking the law here should take a sigh of relief if they were not arrested today. This investigation and the far-reaching network of individuals involved will be the subject of future attention for weeks and months to come.”
The three separate indictments charge 54 individuals with crimes that include various counts of Criminal Sale and Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance (class A, B, and C felonies), and Conspiracy to commit those crimes.
Those charged in today’s three indictments 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
The charges against the defendants are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.
The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) would also like to thank Jefferson County District Attorney Kristyna S. Mills for her assistance in the investigation.
The investigation was led by Jefferson County Detective Perry Golden and OAG OCTF Special Investigator Timothy MacConaghy with the assistance of the National Guard Counter Drug Task Force, under the supervision of OCTF Supervising Investigator Thomas M. Wolf, OCTF Assistant Chief Investigator John Sullivan, and Deputy Chief Investigator Christopher Vasta. The Attorney General’s Investigations Division is led by Chief Oliver Pu-Folkes.
The case is being prosecuted by OAG OCTF Assistant Deputy Attorney General and Senior Investigative Counsel James J. Mindell, with the assistance of Legal Support Analyst Eric Taub and OCTF Confidential Clerk Theresa Rowe, under the supervision of Upstate OCTF Deputy Chief Maria Moran. Nicole Keary is the Deputy Attorney General in Charge of OCTF. The Division for Criminal Justice is led by Chief Deputy Attorney General José Maldonado and overseen by First Deputy Attorney General Jennifer Levy.