More details emerge in huge cocaine ring bust

U.S. Attorney Richard Hartunian talks about the arrests at Thursday’s press conference at the Kingston armory. (Dan Barton)

U.S. Attorney Richard Hartunian talks about the arrests at Thursday’s press conference at the Kingston armory. (Dan Barton)

Dozens of area residents are facing felony charges — accused of running a major drug-trafficking organization based in Kingston and Poughkeepsie that peddled large amounts of cocaine in the Hudson Valley.

The year-long investigation by federal, state and local authorities wrapped up Thursday, Oct. 13, when heavily armed raid teams utilizing armored cars, helicopters and drones rounded up 41 people in and around Poughkeepsie and Kingston. The raids involved teams from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Investigations and U.S. Marshals Service, as well as the Ulster County Sheriff’s Office and the state police.

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Police say the raids took apart a cocaine trafficking ring that moved vast amounts of the drug. The coke was shipped from California to the Hudson Valley secreted inside karaoke and other electronic devices, police said. During the course of the investigation, authorities seized five kilograms of cocaine worth tens of thousands of dollars, but that’s just a fraction of what officials believe the gang sold.

“They were the biggest drug trafficking organization operating locally,” said Ulster County Sheriff Paul VanBlarcum.

Allegations against the gang are contained in federal indictments obtained earlier this month and unsealed following the raids. One indictment from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York in White Plains names 15 people as members or associates of the crew’s Poughkeepsie operation. A second indictment from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of New York names 25 members of the Kingston branch of the operation. Four others are charged in separate indictments for drug and weapons offenses.

Officials declined to specify exactly how the two groups were connected but acknowledged that the indictments spring from a single investigation. They believe the drug ring, which included members of the G-Shine and Sex Money Murder sets of the Bloods gang, used a Poughkeepsie-based music company to launder proceeds from the drug operation. “Outta They League Entertainment,” a music company incorporated in Nevada in 2012 with offices in Poughkeepsie, allegedly produced virtually no music since 2013 and had a payroll of less than $2,000. Yet, between June 2013 and January 2016 more than $1.1 million was deposited in the company’s bank account. Officials believe the money was proceeds of drug transactions by OTL Chief Executive Officer Malcolm “M.A” Kinyon.

According to court documents, Kinyon, who uses the aliases “Sean Williams” and “Angel Rafael Rios-Zayas” shipped the cocaine via commercial delivery services from California to Poughkeepsie. A criminal complaint against Kinyon alleges that he ran the shipment operation from an apartment in Van Nuys, Calif. A statement from an FBI agent included in the criminal complaint describes a June 1, 2016 surveillance operation by police in California that identified Kinyon dropping off a package at a UPS store in Calabasas, Calif. The package was bound for a Poughkeepsie address and contained a karaoke machine with 2.7 kilograms of cocaine hidden inside. The next month, on July 18, the surveillance team also spotted an unidentified individual transporting a similar package from the Van Nuys apartment to a UPS shipment spot for delivery to Poughkeepsie.

In Poughkeepsie, police said, Kinyon gave the cocaine to associates on consignment. Once the drugs were sold, dealers would repay their debts by making deposits into the OTL account controlled by Kinyon. The cash deposits were made at banks around New York and New Jersey and were made in amounts below the $10,000 limit at which banks must report deposits to the federal government. Kinyon allegedly withdrew large sums from the OTL account through cash withdrawals and wire transfers to other banks and individuals. Between June 2013 and January 2016, authorities say, Kinyon made $102,000 in debit card payments for air travel and $65,000 in payments for leased and purchased vehicles, including a Bentley and four Mercedes-Benzes.

According to the complaint, Kinyon and his associates were caught on intercepted phone calls discussing drug shipments, including the June and July packages identified by police. In other intercepted calls, the complaint alleges, Kinyon is recorded making drug deals with associates, arranging a loan from a drug dealer in exchange for discounted cocaine and in at least one instance discussing the use of violence to collect a drug debt. One count in the indictment alleges that between March and July of 2016, Kinyon bought guns transported from Virginia and resold them to associates in the Hudson Valley.

Less is known about the operations of the Kingston branch of the drug ring. U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of New York Richard Hartunian, declined to give specifics on the investigation and court documents offer few specifics.

Authorities did say the Kingston operation was headed by Marcus “Fish” Fisher, Romell “Mel” Hearn and Recardo “Geezy” Langston. All three men are accused in the federal indictment of conspiracy to distribute five or more kilos of cocaine. Twenty-two others named in the indictment are charged with conspiracy to distribute lesser amounts of the drug.

Romell, Fisher and Hearn face a minimum of ten years and a maximum of life in prison if convicted. Another alleged member of the ring, Jonathan Jones, 46, of Port Ewen, faces a ten to life sentence based on prior drug convictions. Other members face a maximum 20 years in federal prison.

Lansgton, 31, is named in the indictment as possessing cocaine on seven separate dates between Oct. 28, 2015 and May 25, 2016. On May 25, Langston was involved in a high-speed chase with members of the Ulster Regional Gang Enforcement Narcotics Team. The chase ended when a police car rammed Langston’s 2016 Dodge Charger. At the time of the arrest Langston was carrying a quantity of cocaine. Sheriff VanBlarcum confirmed this week that the UREGENT cops had been following Langston as part of the larger federal investigation.

On Friday afternoon, hours after the early-morning raids rounded up suspects, authorities held a press conference at the armory on Kiersted Avenue that served as a headquarters for the operation. U.S. Attorney Hartunian praised the Ulster County Sheriff’s Office and the URGENT task force for providing the “collaborative platform” behind the federal investigation. VanBlarcum declined to say exactly how the case came about, except that it started with a routine traffic stop by a sheriff’s deputy and came to involve many hours of field work by URGENT cops working in concert with federal and state partners.

Hartunian said the investigation had led to the seizure of five kilograms of cocaine and lesser amounts of heroin, marijuana, crack cocaine and oxycodone pills. Police also seized 20 illegal firearms during the investigation.

Angel Melendez, special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations’ New York office, described the drug ring as 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.

“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.”

In addition to Fisher, Hearn and Langston, the following people were charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine:

Jalen “J Skrap” Allen, 23, of Kingston

Jonathon Jones, 46, of Port Ewen

Eunice “Niecy” Allen, 57, of Kingston

Emiliano Alonso, 39, of Miami Beach, Fla.

Guy “G” Cain, 34, of New Windsor

Jamal “Moreless” Clinton, 39, of Lake Katrine

Marc Douglas, 37, of Highland

Kevin Drake, 44, of Kingston

Jose “Feather” Francisquini, 41, of Connelly

Greg Hardy, 42, of Kingston

Mark “Double R” Howard, 43, of Poughkeepsie

Cordal “Ghetto Po” Johnson, 39, of Beacon

Phillip “Beans” Keith, 31, of Lake Katrine

Kareem “Manny” McFarlane, 31, of Highland

Robert “Bob-O” Medley, 38, of Kingston

Michael “MB” Monsanto, 28, of Kingston

Ryan “Ry” Rios, 34, of Kingston

Dwan “West” Scafe, 28, of Poughkeepsie

Dionn Spencer, 28, of Poughkeepsie

Leonard “Lenny” Vandyke, 41, of Kingston

Daniel “Lite” 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 “Banger J” Keith, 25, of Kingston

Kashawn “Shine” Watson, 23, of Kingston

Maurice “Piff” Wood, 31, of Kingston

 

In addition to Kinyon, the following people are charged with conspiracy to distribute narcotics in the indictment U.S. v. Kinyon, et al.:

Eric “Powerful” Antonmarchi

Star Bermudez

Brian “Pony” Bowman

Derrick “Dirk” Ensley

Aaron Hardy

Andrew Hardy

Nicholas “Stay High” Leyva

Davion “Goat” McAdam

Dante “Tay” McNair

Jaquan “Drugs” McNair

Anton “Nord” Singleton

Daniel “D” Spotards

Vaughn “Qua” Stokes

Bryan “Tall B” Whittle

Note: A previous version of this story originally had $2.7 million in cash hidden in the karaoke machine, not 2.7 kg of cocaine.

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