FROM THE DA’S OFFICE
Rockland County District Attorney Thomas P. Zugibe on Wedesday announced the filing of criminal charges against 28 individuals on drug and other charges following a four-month undercover investigation targeting narcotics trafficking activities in the community.
The defendants – who range in age from 24 to 53 – are charged with selling crack and powdered cocaine, heroin, ketamine, oxycodone, Ecstasy, Percocet, marijuana and other controlled substances to undercover police officers on more than 75 separate occasions during the past several months in Haverstraw, Clarkstown, Orangetown and Ramapo.
According to the charges, some of the open-air transactions were made in the villages of Suffern, Nyack and Haverstraw, often in the busy downtown areas. The drug transactions have led to more than 90 counts of criminal sale and criminal possession of controlled substances.
District Attorney Zugibe said, “This investigation will take us a long way to improving the quality of life for the residents of our community and in reducing drug-related violence and other criminal activity. These arrests make Rockland County safer by putting drug dealers in jail.”
Twenty-four of the 28 defendants have prior criminal histories for burglary, robbery, attempted murder, assault, criminal sale and criminal possession of controlled substances, resisting arrest, coercion, grand larceny, petit larceny and child sex crimes.
The large-scale investigation focused on a numerous locations, including downtown areas in the villages of Suffern, Nyack and Haverstraw. According to the charges, other illegal activities took place in the Palisades Center mall in West Nyack and the Thruway Plaza strip mall on Route 59 in Nanuet.
Through traditional investigative means such as physical surveillance and search warrants, coupled with court-authorized electronic surveillance, authorities allegedly developed information that led detectives to areas known for drug selling. In addition to the arrests, officers executed court-
authorized search warrants and recovered various amounts of prescription pills, cocaine, heroin and drug paraphernalia.
Among those arrested was Wilfredo Torres (DOB 02/25/63) of 20 Main Street, Apartment #30, Garnerville, New York. Investigators identified Torres as a significant cocaine dealer in the Town of Haverstraw. His lengthy criminal record includes prior arrests for criminal sale and criminal possession of controlled substances, grand larceny, robbery, burglary, conspiracy and resisting arrest.
Additionally, the investigation into a “pill mill” in Clarkstown led to the arrest of Andrew Flores (DOB 09/08/88) of 149 West Clarkstown Road, New City, New York. A search warrant executed at Flores’ residence led to the seizure of nearly 500 pills, including oxycodone, suboxone, ketamine and marijuana. The estimated street value of these pills and marijuana is approximately $14,000.
The 28 defendants are variously charged with numerous counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree, a class “B” felony and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree, a class “B” felony, each punishable by up to nine years in prison.
Rockland County Drug Task Force Director Christopher Goldrick said, “These long-term drug investigations arrests have been a collaborative and coordinated response to open-air drug dealing complaints from our residents. The Drug Task Force, along with the Street Crime Units, Detective Bureaus and Uniform Patrol Officers will continue to dismantle open-air drug dealers and gang members that fuel all other crimes that deteriorate our communities. The Rockland County Drug Task Force recognizes the valuable partnership it has established with our federal and state agencies.”
The investigation continues into the reach and scope of illicit drug trafficking in Rockland County and further arrests will be made.