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“Operation Snowfall” breaks drug ring between Big Apple, Hudson Valley

NEW YORK – Eight people, including four from the Mid-Hudson Valley, are charged with a combined 140 counts related to trafficking and possession of cocaine and a ninth person was arrested on drug-related charges stemming from a major trafficking ring that saw drugs brought from New York City to Wappingers Falls. One of those arrested is a well-known resident of the Wappingers Falls community.

The money from the sales was funneled to the Dominican Republic, according to a grand jury indictment unsealed Wednesday in the case dubbed “Operation Snowfall.”

According to court papers filed in Dutchess County Court, the drug run was run by a husband and wife, Robert Garcia and Adalgisa Hernandez, from their Washington Heights Apartment. The couple also allegedly used rented apartments in another building where the cocaine was stashed and even used a trapdoor hidden in an apartment kitchen, and conducted in-person transactions using the apartment’s stairwells like an office.

The Attorney General’s Organized Crime task Force, State Police and Homeland Security Investigations found a large customer base in Wappingers Falls. Michael Novick, a well-connected member of the Wappingers Falls community where his sister sits on the village board of trustees, and his brother is a police officer, is charged with directing co-conspirators to travel to Washington Heights several times each week, buy several ounces of cocaine each time and bring the narcotics back to Wappingers Falls for sale.

Once the narcotics arrived in Wappingers Falls, Novick would sell them to a number of customers and resellers in the area, frequently using Chubby’s Deli at 28 Market Street as the base of operations, according to the charges.

Those charged in the indictment are Novick of Wappingers Falls, Thomas Bonelli of Highland, Richard Bernal and Timothy Long, both of Wappingers Falls; Robert Garcia, Adalgisa Hernandez, Juan Prado, and Denny Gabriel Rojas Martinez, all of New York City.