A local drug ring has been busted open as the result of a year-and-a-half investigation involving federal and local law-enforcement officials from two counties. The two Saugerties residents fingered as ringleaders have pleaded guilty to federal charges, as has a fellow conspirator from Cairo. Four more suspects face state-level charges, and there may be more arrests forthcoming.
Officers seized large amounts of cocaine and cannabis in various forms, as well as packaging materials, a loaded rifle, more than $135,000 in cash, and a commercial-grade cash-counting machine. The cannabis products included a pound and a half of wax hashish and 363 THC cartridges. Russell J. Neglia, 25, and Roger W. Hummer, 38, both of Saugerties, were arrested March 2, and each charged with possession of cocaine with intent to distribute it and conspiracy to possess that controlled substance with intent to distribute. Hummer was also charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm. Neglia pleaded guilty July 15, while Hummer has not yet entered a plea.
According to detective lieutenant Abram Markiewicz of the Ulster County sheriff’s department at a press conference on Monday, Neglia is a member of the same family as Jenna Neglia, who was arrested last week for heroin and fentanyl-related charges, but the two cases are not connected.
Authorities say Michael A. Manor of Teaneck, New Jersey, arrested March 9, was the source of the cocaine that the other two were distributing in Ulster and Greene counties. When Manor was pulled over in an “intelligence-based traffic stop” in the Town of Ulster, he had a kilogram of cocaine in the vehicle. He has admitted to bringing 880 grams of cocaine from New York City to Saugerties over the course of three trips in 2018 and 2020, in addition to the kilogram with which he was found upon his arrest. He pleaded guilty on July 20, prior to the press conference held at the Ulster County Law Enforcement Center to announce the investigation.
Investigators say they conducted thousands of hours of physical and electronic surveillance, used federal wire interceptions on multiple phone lines, conducted numerous undercover buy operations, conducted intelligence based traffic stops to seize cocaine and marijuana, and executed multiple search warrants in both Ulster and Greene counties.
“Drugs destroy families and lives,” said Grant C. Jaquith, United States Attorney for the state’s Northern District, at the press conference. Citing all-time overdose deaths, he said that the “unprecedented levels of effective partnership” to make these arrests would deter other dealers and are an “important part of education and prevention.”
David Clegg, district attorney for Ulster County, promised to “stand shoulder to shoulder” with Jaquith in prosecuting state charges against others who have been apprehended. These were named as Vincent F. Neglia Sr., Sophia R. Ricci, and Scott Giannone of Saugerties, as well as Francis M. Raffiani of Palenville. Other charges will be forthcoming from the district attorney in Greene County, who was not present at this press conference. Markiewicz said that charges against individuals not yet named are also forthcoming. Clegg said that these actions are intended to send a message out to the community that “you should not be involved with drug trafficking.”
Sheriff Juan Figueroa confirmed that drug sales and overdoses have seen an uptick during this pandemic, and echoed Clegg that they are “trying to send a message” that anyone who sells “that poison in our county will be arrested.”
This investigation was coordinated through the Ulster Regional Gang Enforcement Narcotics Team, which is funded and peopled via a number of local law-enforcement agencies. Federal personnel were also involved in this operation.
Investigators say they conducted thousands of hours of physical and electronic surveillance, used federal wire interceptions on multiple phone lines, conducted numerous undercover buy operations, conducted intelligence based traffic stops to seize cocaine and marihuana, and executed multiple search warrants in both Ulster and Greene counties.