Federal officials say they’ve brought down a Kingston-based cocaine trafficking organization that imported drugs from California via New York City for sale on local streets.
Twenty-eight members of the alleged drug ring were arrested on Thursday, Oct. 13 in predawn raids in Kingston and Poughkeepsie. Police say three people named in the indictment remain at large.
At a press conference held in the Kingston armory, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of New York Richard S. Hartunian was joined by officials from U.S. Homeland Security and the Ulster County Sheriff’s Office, as well as Ulster County District Attorney Holley Carnright, state troopers and U.S. Marshals Service personnel to announce the arrests.
According to law enforcement, the ring was based in Kingston and Poughkeepsie and obtained cocaine from a source in New York City, who imported it from California. Angel Melendez, special agent in charge of Homeland Security investigations in New York, said that the crew used a variety of methods to move cocaine up from the city and around the Hudson Valley, including stashing the drugs in karaoke machines and other electronic devices. Over the course of a year-long investigation, police seized 20 illegal firearms and five kilograms of cocaine, as well as smaller quantities of heroin, crack cocaine, marijuana and illegally diverted pills. Hartunian said that the gang moved much more weight than what was seized; estimates of exactly how much cocaine they distributed were expected to play a role in the federal proceedings against them. Police also seized five pistols and a shotgun and a press used to pack large quantities of cocaine into kilo bricks during Thursday’s raids.
According to Melendez, the ring was headed by Poughkeepsie residents Marcus Fisher, 39, and Romell Hearn, 37, while the Kingston operation was run by Recardo Langston. Langston, 31, was out on bail on state charges stemming from a high-speed chase and cocaine seizure when he was picked up by federal agents on Thursday. Langston, a onetime Kingston High School basketball standout faces 10 years to life in federal prison if convicted on drug conspiracy charges.
Police say Langston and others named in the indictments are affiliated with the Sex Money Murder and G-Shine “sets” of the Bloods street gang.
Melendez described the drug ring the kind of major drug trafficking organization usually found in big cities operating an “open drug market” while serving as the sole source of income for its members, three of which were a mother and her two sons.
“These organizations are branching out to rural areas because they think that by doing so they can cheat law enforcement and not be brought to justice,” said Melendez. “I think with today’s case, we are sending a very loud message that that is not the case.”
Referring to the use of the karaoke machines as drug stashes, Melendez at one point quipped, “There’s no karaoke nights in federal prison.”
Also arrested and charged as being part of the coke-selling conspiracy were:
- Jalen Allen, 23, of Kingston
- Jonathon Jones, 46, of Port Ewen
- Eunice Allen, 57, of Kingston
- Emiliano Alonso, 39, of Miami Beach, Fla.
- Guy Cain, 34, of New Windsor
- Jamal Clinton, 39, of Lake Katrine
- Marc Douglas, 37, of Highland
- Kevin Drake, 44, of Kingston
- Jose Francisquini, 41, of Connelly
- Greg Hardy, 42, of Kingston
- Mark Howard, 43, of Poughkeepsie
- Cordal Johnson, 39, of Beacon
- Phillip Keith, 31, of Lake Katrine
- Kareem McFarlane, 31, of Highland
- Robert Medley, 38, of Kingston
- Michael Monsanto, 28, of Kingston
- Ryan Rios, 34, of Kingston
- Dwan Scafe, 28, of Poughkeepsie
- Dionn Spencer, 28, of Poughkeepsie
- Leonard Vandyke, 41, of Kingston
- Daniel Williams, 32, of Hyde Park
- Keshia Williams, 28, of Poughkeepsie
Arrested on weapons charges were:
- Robert Curry, 36, of Poughkeepsie
- Jadon Douglas, 28, of Poughkeepsie
- Jeffrey Keith, 25, of Kingston
- Kashawn Watson, 23, of Kingston
- Maurice Wood, 31, of Kingston
Arrested on a charge of possession of heroin with intent to distribute was Jahkeem Ryan, 22, of Port Ewen.