Thursday, December 6, 2012
 

 

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Cocaine pipeline smashed with almost 40 arrests

ONONDAGA – Several law enforcement agencies, including the attorney general’s office, announced the arrests of 39 individuals and the seizure of more than one million dollars in cocaine as part of a takedown of three large scale drug distribution networks. The networks transported cocaine from the New York City metropolitan area and Buffalo to be sold in Cortland, Syracuse and Watertown. The Attorney General’s office conducted a series of raids early this morning and confiscated in excess of ten kilograms of cocaine and arrested the defendants.

As part of a nine-month, multi-agency investigation code-named “Operation Southbound,” state and local law enforcement agents led by the New York State Attorney General’s Organized Crime Task Force (OCTF), New York State Police, the Cortland County Sheriff's Department, the Syracuse Police Department, the Cortland City Police Department and SUNY Cortland Police conducted covert surveillance, including hundreds of hours of wiretaps and the execution of search warrants at several locations. 

"These elaborate drug networks polluted our communities through a pipeline of illegal drugs that allowed traffickers to bring dangerous narcotics from New York City and Buffalo to Central and Northern New York. Operation Southbound put an end to this deadly drug distribution chain and now the perpetrators will be brought to justice,” said Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. “I applaud the work of our law enforcement team and our partners who spent countless hours working to get these drug dealers and distributors off the streets of New York State.”

The three separate indictments charge 39 individuals with crimes including operating as a major trafficker, and various counts of criminal sale and criminal possession of a controlled substance (class a and b felonies), and conspiracy to commit those crimes. the operating as a major trafficker statute.  This law went into effect in November 2009 as part of reforms to the Rockefeller-era drug laws. It is the only felony narcotics charge in the state that carries a possible life sentence.