From the Attorney General’s Office
NEW YORK – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced Tuesday the guilty verdicts of three individuals who were convicted of 45 felonies by a jury. Guy Anderson, 40, Jamel Pearson, 36, and Michael Williams, 27, were convicted after a 12-week trial in Albany County Court. One of the men, Guy Anderson, the leader of the drug organization, was convicted of multiple drug-related offenses, including one count of operating as major drug trafficker, which carries a mandatory life sentence.
“Some New York neighborhoods are being destroyed by drugs. My office, with the assistance and collaboration of other law enforcement, is working to keep our streets safer and convict drug traffickers who plague our communities,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “My office will continue to work with our partners around the state to eliminate violent criminal enterprises like this one and we will put criminals behind bars.”
The guilty verdicts are the result of an 18-month joint investigation by the Attorney General’s Organized Crime Task Force, the New York State Police and the Albany Police Department. The three men, who were convicted Monday night, were charged along with 49 other members of a violent narcotics network who distributed massive quantities of cocaine, heroin and various illegal prescription medications, including Hydrocodone, Oxycodone and Percocet.
The operation transported drugs from New York City to areas throughout the Capital Region, as well as Greene, Orange, Renssealer, Rockland, Saratoga, Schenectady, Ulster and Warren Counties. They also operated in Vermont. The vast majority of the other co-defendants previously pled guilty in the case.
The jury returned verdicts of guilty against Anderson for operating as a major trafficker and conspiracy in the second degree along with 15 other counts. The jury found Jamel Pearson guilty of five counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance in the second degree as well as six other counts. Williams was found guilty of conspiracy in the second degree, among other counts. Anderson and Pearson are both facing life sentences. Williams faces up to 70 years behind bars.
Through the use of extensive electronic and physical surveillance, and the review and analysis of suspects’ cell phone records, in conjunction with other investigative tools, the attorney general’s investigation identified Anderson, Pearson, and Williams as leaders of this conspiracy to distribute illegal drugs. Anderson, Pearson and Williams conspired to transport large amounts of cocaine, heroin, and pills to the Capital Region, where it was divided, broken down and distributed throughout the area and in Vermont.
The investigation was code-named “OGK,” based on the affiliation of some of the defendants, including Jamel Pearson, with a home grown Albany-based street gang called the Original Gangsta Killas. The investigation further revealed that Michael Williams was affiliated with the Bloods, another street gang present in the City of Albany.
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.”
One of the subjects of this investigation, Richard Gibbs, was murdered in the South End of Albany in November of 2011 by rival gang members. Following that incident and during this investigation, OCTF investigators uncovered a retaliation plot for the murder over court-ordered wiretaps. This enabled investigators to seize a gun that was intended to be used in the retaliation attempt, avoiding further bloodshed.
The guilty verdicts are the result of a joint investigation by the New York State Attorney General’s Organized Crime Task Force, the New York State Police and the City of Albany Police Department, with the assistance of the New York National Guard Counterdrug Task Force, the United States Marshals Service, Rensselaer County Task Force, City of Troy Police Department, and the Bennington (Vermont) Police Department.
The investigation was directed by OCTF Special Investigator Dennis Guiry under the supervision of Special Investigator Williams Charles, Deputy Chief Investigator Gene Black and Chief Dominick Zarella. Detective James Wood and Detective John Monte were the lead investigators from the Albany Police Department, under the supervision of Sergeant Brian Quinn, Sergeant Ed O’Leary, Commander Jeff Roberts, Commander Anthony Ryan and Chief of Police Steven Krokoff. Investigator Robert Giampetti was the lead investigator from the New York State Police, under the supervision of Senior Investigator Matt Probst and Lieutenant Michael Tietz.
The case is being prosecuted by OCTF Assistant Deputy Attorney General Michael A. Sharpe, under the supervision of Deputy Attorney General Peri Alyse Kadanoff and Executive Deputy Attorney General for Criminal Justice Kelly Donovan.