Schneiderman calls ‘Operation OGK’ the largest take down in the history of NY Attorney General Office’s Organized Crime Task Force
New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman Tuesday announced the arrests and 261 count indictment of 52 members of a violent narcotics network who allegedly were distributing massive quantities of cocaine, heroin and various illegal prescription medications, including Hydrocodone, Oxycodone, and Percocet from New York City, throughout the Capital Region, as well as Greene, Orange, Rensselaer, Rockland, Schenectady, Ulster and Warren Counties in New York, in addition to the State of Vermont.
As part of an operation code-named “OGK,” based on the affiliation of some of the defendants with a home grown Albany-based street gang called the Original Gangsta Killas, state and local law enforcement agents led by the New York State Attorney General’s Organized Crime Task Force (OCTF), the Albany Police Department and the New York State Police, concluded a six-month investigation into this drug network that was conducting its illicit activities on the streets of the Capital Region.
“These drug traffickers threatened our communities and wreaked havoc on families across the state for too long, and now they will be brought to justice,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “This investigation has shut down a major network of gang members responsible for the sale of illegal drugs and possession of dangerous weapons in our neighborhoods. I want to thank our partners in law enforcement – Albany Police Department and the New York State Police – for working with us to get these dangerous individuals and deadly narcotics off the streets.”
The indictment contains 261 counts, charges 52 people with various Criminal Sale and Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance (class A, B, C, D felonies) and Conspiracy in the second degree (class B felony) in relation to their involvement in the narcotics trafficking network. Five of the defendants, Anthony Lugo, Mario Perez, Guy Anderson, Michael Williams and Haneef Washington, are also charged with Operating as a Major Trafficker, which carries the potential of a life sentence.
Richard Gibbs (aka “50 Cent”), was one of the main subjects of this investigation. Back in February, he was murdered in the South End of Albany by a rival gang. Following that incident, OCTF investigators were informed about additional retaliation over authorized wiretaps. This allowed investigators to intercept the gun that was intended to be used in the retaliation attempt. The increasing violence on the streets made it necessary for OCTF to move quickly on this case before there was any more bloodshed.
Among those indicted are five members of OGK – Jamel Pearson, Tahreen Jeanotte, Michael Marabel, Allen Bace and Marquis Johnson. Additionally, two of the drug network’s leaders were members of another street gang – the Bloods – Michael Williams, Haneef Washington, along with Gilbert Pilet.
Gerald D. Jennings, Albany Mayor said, “Through a very collaborative investigation some of the area’s most dangerous people and drug traffickers are now off our streets. As we move forward we will continue to work with all of our law enforcement partners in order to keep our streets safe and provide an environment where everyone can live freely without the fear of senseless violence and illegal drugs in their neighborhoods. We will hold anyone accountable who chooses to partake in the sale and distribution of illegal drugs and violence. I commend Attorney General Schneiderman and his office for spearheading this investigation.”
Joseph A. D’Amico, New York State Police Superintendent said, “The collaborative investigative efforts of the State Attorney General’s Organized Crime Task Force, the New York State Police, the Albany Police Department, and our law enforcement partners, have resulted in the dismantling of a major narcotics distribution network and the arrests of numerous dangerous individuals. Drug trafficking has long been a catalyst for violence and other criminal activities that plague a number of our communities. These arrests send a strong message that New York State will not tolerate these threats in our communities.”
This take down and indictment is the culmination of an investigation which is part of ongoing efforts to combat narcotic trafficking and other crimes through OCTF’s Upstate Guns, Gangs, and Drugs Initiative.
Five Defendants charged as Major Traffickers:
1. Guy Anderson
34 years old
2. Anthony Lugo
37 years old
3. Mario Perez
34 years old
4. Michael “Jigga” Williams
26 years old
5. Haneef Washington
32 years old
According to the Attorney General’s investigators, in 1993, a group on the East Coast created a gang known as the United Blood Nation. Formed in New York City’s Rikers Island jail, inmates created the group as a way to protect themselves from the Latin Kings, which was the preeminent gang in the jail system at that time. Although the United Blood Nation was born in the prison system, as members were paroled to the streets, they formed the Bloods street gangs on the East Coast emulating the Los Angeles Bloods lifestyle.
The Original Gangsta Killas is considered one of Albany’s most notorious street gangs. The South End-based gang was formerly known as the “Black Gangstas.” Their rivals are predominately a gang from the North-End of Albany called the “Jungle Junkies.”
The charges contained in the indictment are the result of a six-month joint investigation by the OCTF, Albany Police Department and the New York State Police, with the assistance of the NY National Guard Counterdrug Task Force, the United States Marshals Service, Rensselaer County Task Force, City of Troy Police Department, and the Bennington Police Department (Vermont).
The investigation was directed by OCTF Special Investigator Dennis Guiry under the supervision of Special Investigator William Charles, and Deputy Chief Investigator, Gene Black, under the supervision of Chief Dominick Zarrella. The Albany Police Department Sergeants Brian Quinn and Ed O’Leary, and Detectives John Monte and James Wood, under the supervision of Lt. Jeff Roberts, Commander Anthony Ryan, and Chief of Police Steven Krokoff, and New York State Police Senior Investigator Samuel Mercado, under the supervision of Lt. Michael Tietz also assisted in the case.
The case is being prosecuted by OCTF Assistant Deputy Attorney General Michael Sharpe, under the supervision of OCTF Deputy Attorney General Peri Alyse Kadanoff and Executive Deputy Attorney General for Criminal Justice, Nancy Hoppock.
The charges against the defendants are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in a court of law.