State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman today announced the takedown of a major Hudson Valley narcotics distribution ring in what the office dubbed “Operation Yellow Brick Road.” And like the shining street in the film, this operation was conducted amid innumerable opium poppies – or, at least, the processed gum that oozes therefrom.
The 172-count indictment charges 16 members of a large, violent narcotics trafficking ring operating in the Hudson Valley, selling heroin and cocaine in Newburgh and elsewhere in Orange County. The indictment, unsealed in Orange County Court today, charged the 16 alleged co-conspirators with conspiracy, criminal sale of a controlled substance, and criminal possession of a controlled substance, in addition to other charges. Each defendant now faces up to 25 years in prison.
“This takedown should send an unmistakable message: we won’t let our communities live in fear,” said Schneiderman. “Our investigation uncovered a sophisticated drug trafficking ring that we allege peddled cocaine, heroin, and violence on the streets of Newburgh and throughout New York. The opioid crisis – and the violence that often comes with it – has been catastrophic for small cities and suburban and upstate communities across New York. By partnering with local law enforcement, our [Suburban and Upstate Response to the Growing Epidemic] Initiative is working to cut off the supply of drugs into our communities and drive violent gangs and traffickers out of business, part of our multi-levered approach to tackling the opioid epidemic.”
According to a press release, the operation was dubbed “Operation Yellow Brick Road” partially due to ringleader Damion Jackson’s street name “Toe-Toe.”
Over the course of the ten months-long investigation, state, federal and local authorities recovered:
- Bulk heroin, and hundreds of doses of heroin in individual glassines, some marked with brand names such as “Focus,” “Shine,” and “X-men”
- Bulk cocaine used to make thousands of individual doses for resale
- 1 kilo of methamphetamine
- 40 pounds of marijuana
- 3 handguns
- 1 sawed-off shotgun
- 1 shotgun
- At least $36,000 in cash