Countywide drug sweep results in 19 arrests for drugs and firearms, discovery of possible meth lab
(MUG SHOTS TO BE FEATURED IN THIS WEEK’S PRINT EDITION)
BY MICHAEL RICONDA
NEW CITY – The Rockland County District Attorney’s Office announced on Tuesday that it had completed a countywide drug sweep which arrested 19 street dealers countywide, resulted in seizures of heroin, oxycodone, hydrocodone, Xanax, marijuana, crack cocaine, powdered cocaine and illegal firearms and unearthed a potential meth lab in the Village of Suffern.
District Attorney Thomas Zugibe joined Rockland Drug Task Force Director Chris Goldrick to announce the successful sweep and show off drugs and weapons which led to more than 80 felony drug charges and more than 40 firearms charges.
According to Zugibe, the recent seizures, which were executed with the assistance of a coordinated effort by local, state and federal law enforcement, focused upon low-level dealers. The effort is part of a larger “targeted enforcement” campaign which aims to trace supply chains both within and beyond Rockland County.
“We’re targeting upper level drug dealers that take us well beyond the confines of Rockland County and we’re talking about street-level drug dealers that are selling directly to the end users here, leading to many sad stories that we’re talking about,” Zugibe explained.
The raids took place in locations scattered throughout New City, West Nyack, Garnerville, Spring Valley and Suffern, where police spent several months monitoring open-air drug transactions and suspicious properties. Fifteen of the nineteen suspects have prior charges, though few of them knew each other and it is not believed they were all part of the same operation.
Most of the weapons charges stemmed from the arrest of Alessandro Bruno, 26, of 10 Windmill Lane in New City, who was booked for three counts of criminal possession of an assault weapon in the third degree, a class D felony, for possession of multiple assault rifles and large capacity ammunition clips. In addition, suspect Sammy Foda, 23, of 37 Woodland Drive in Suffern, was found with a shotgun.
Foda is also suspected of attempting to set up a meth lab. According to Goldrick, notes and materials found at his residence indicated he was attempting to manufacture methamphetamine and MDMA. The materials have been submitted for identification.
The other individuals are as follows:
- Juan Ramos, 36, Haverstraw – Cocaine
- Christopher Kalber, 23, Sloatsburg – Oxycodone
- Michael Wagner, 23, Sloatsburg – Oxycodone
- Andy “J” Negri, 27, Nanuet – Crack cocaine
- Jose Cabrera, 23, West Haverstraw – Cocaine, Marijuana
- Juan Molina, 26, Haverstraw – Cocaine
- Chadd Mapp, 25, New City – Cocaine, Crack cocaine
- Daniel Hlavac, 22, Pearl River – Heroin
- Robert Burch-Sanchez, 19, Pomona – Xanaz, hydrocodone
- Lorenzo Thorpe, 46, Spring Valley – Crack cocaine
- Clifton Pierre, 29, Monsey – Cocaine, crack cocaine
- Bryan “Poppo” Lora, 24, New City – Oxycodone
- Kim “Chino” Vasquez, 34, New City – Crack cocaine
- Daniel Gavrity, 33, New City – Heroin
- Khristopher “Dollar” Crayton, 27 – Crack cocaine
- Jennifer Hepp, 27, New City – Heroin
- John O’Brien Jr., 48, New City – Oxycodone
Zugibe also alluded to further collaborative police action with larger state and federal law enforcement agencies in the near future which will target higher-profile drug traffickers.
Heroin and prescription painkiller abuse has garnered increased attention over the past few years and prompted calls for a concerted police and medical response. Since the beginning of 2014, 18 people have died of overdose deaths, including an additional two which died a week since Zugibe’s initial announcement of the county’s community action plan.
The seizures occurred just a week after Zugibe announced a three-pronged community plan to tamp down on heroin and prescription drug abuse. The plan includes not only police action against drug traffickers but also collaborative efforts between law enforcement agencies, prosecutors and medical professionals for the purpose of identifying and treating users, public education campaigns and the continued use of alternatives to incarceration for drug users with little to zero levels of involvement in the drug trade.