Fifteen people were arrested for allegedly engaging in narcotics trafficking in Rockland County last week in an investigation led by the FBI. Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York; Janice K. Fedarcyk, the assistant director-in-charge of the New York Office of the FBI; and Tom Zugibe, Rockland County District Attorney, announced the charges on Friday.
Ten of those involved in the alleged trafficking, including a local pharmacist, Srinath Thoompally, are charged in an indictment with “unlawfully distributing large quantities of prescription pain medications, including oxycodone, hydromorphone, hydrocodone, oxymorphone, and fentanyl.”
Dr. Aristide Esser, an 81-year-old psychiatrist originally from Indonesia and who went to college in the Netherlands, is charged with unlawfully distributing secobarbital, a barbiturate. Four others were charged with conspiring to distribute several different narcotics. All 15 defendants were arrested last Friday.
Others charged in the network of 10 include from Rockland County: David Jacobs, Thomas Ziegler, Firas Yousef, Alex Fusco, John Brun, Vincent Krasinski and Melanie Decort, and from Orange County, Jesse Bailey. One of those charged was not identified by the authorities. Each defendant named in U.S. v Srinath Thoompally is charged with conspiracy to distribute and posess with intent to distribute Schedule II controlled substances, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. Thoompally, Bailey and Jacobs are also charged with distribution and possession with intent to distribute Schedule II controlled substances, which also carry 20 year maximum sentences.
Brun is charged with possession of 28 grams of crack cocaine, which carries a five year minimum sentence and a maximum of 28 years.
A network comprised of Sereyrith Proum, Daniel Rivera, Michael Guzman and Michael Farago was also charged in the case. No addresses or ages were available for the defendants who were charged with various drug crimes, including sale of prescription meds, as well as MDMA and cocaine. Some of the activity is said to have occurred around Empire City Casino in Yonkers.
DA Tom Zugibe said, “Rockland County has seen a startling rise in the use and abuse of highly addictive prescription medications. It is our hope that through this effort and other similar operations, we can reduce the illicit use of potent drugs like oxycodone and save lives. These arrests underscore our commitment to improve the quality of life for the residents of our community. I commend the men and women of my office, the US Attorney for the Southern District and the FBI for their cooperation in this case.”
Law enforcement agencies that helped in the investigation include the Rockland County Narcotics Task Force, the New York OCDETF Crime Strike Force, the Rockland County Sheriff’s Dept., the Rockland County Intelligence Center, the New York City Police Department, the U.S. DEA, the U.S. Marshal Service, the New York State Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement, the New York State Department of Health, the New York State Police, and the Clarkstown, Ramapo, Orangetown, Suffern, Spring Valley, Haverstraw, and Stony Point Police Departments.