A.G. Schneiderman Announces Indictment Charging 13 Individuals In Take Down Of Heroin Distribution Network That Stretched From NYC To Hudson Valley, Long Island, And Pennsylvania
Joint Investigation, Code-Named “Operation Iron Horse,” Uncovered Network That Allegedly Moved Illegal Drugs and Money On Metro-North Trains And Greyhound Buses
Third Major Drug Bust In Three Weeks; Adds To Record Of More Than 550 Felony Narcotics Arrests By New York Attorney General’s Office And New York State Police In Four Years
Schneiderman: I Am Committed To Rooting Out Drug Abuse In Every New York Community
NEW YORK – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced the indictment of 13 individuals charged with conspiring to distribute heroin from New York City across state and county lines into Orange, Sullivan, and Nassau Counties, as well as Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Starting in June 2014, law enforcement agents from the New York Attorney General’s Organized Crime Task Force (OCTF) and the New York State Police’s Community Narcotics Enforcement Team (CNET) conducted a joint investigation, code-named “Operation Iron Horse,” that included covert physical surveillance and hundreds of hours of wiretaps that identified this alleged multicounty and multistate heroin distribution network. The indictment charges 13 people with a combined 179 counts related to the trafficking and possession of heroin. One defendant – who called himself “The Prime Minister” – is charged with Operating as a Major Trafficker, the only felony narcotics charge in the state that carries as possible life sentence.
“For the third time in as many weeks, we have dismantled a large heroin ring that allegedly crossed county and state lines, stretching from Pittsburgh to Long Island,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “The tragic reality is that we are in the midst of a heroin epidemic in New York State – and the conventional wisdom that these drugs are confined to inner cities is clearly wrong. Using every tool and resources at my office’s disposal, we will continue our efforts to root out drug abuse in every New York community suffering from the blight of illegal narcotics.”
“With today’s arrests, law enforcement is once again sending a strong message that this type of crime will not be tolerated in New York State,” said New York State Police Superintendent Joseph A. D’Amico. “These individuals are accused of carrying heroin on public transportation and putting innocent lives at risk. I commend the members of the New York State Police Community Narcotics Enforcement team and our law enforcement partners for the inter-agency cooperation and coordination it takes to get drugs off our streets.”
As outlined in the indictment unsealed today by the Orange County Court, evidence gathered by state investigators showed that Brian Bacon – a.k.a. “The Prime Minister” – was the alleged kingpin behind a major heroin distribution network based in New York State. This network allegedly stretched from Harlem and the Bronx, where Bacon lives and works, to Nassau, Orange, and Sullivan Counties in New York and Allegheny County in Pennsylvania.
As alleged, Bacon sold up to a kilogram of heroin per month with assistance from his son, Tamar Dillard, and his girlfriend, Donna Marie Haggans, who were integral to the packaging and delivery of the heroin to customers and resellers, as well as the handling of money. Bacon was also allegedly assisted by Wallace Walker – the self-styled “quality control officer” – who distributed heroin to third parties, who would test and then rate the quality, thereby permitting Bacon to gauge how much he could “cut” the heroin and the price he should charge.
As detailed in the indictment, Bacon had two suppliers: an as-yet unidentified male and Raymos Bertrand. The main resellers allegedly supplied by Bacon were: Jerome Turnbough, from Newburgh; Roderick Copeland, from upper Manhattan; Jamaul Aziz, who currently resides in Sullivan County, New York; and Kenneth Parris, from Uniondale.
As alleged, Bacon regularly sent his son, Dillard, to take the Metro-North train from the 125th Street station in Harlem to deliver drugs to Turnbough in Newburgh. Turnbough also allegedly traveled by train to New York City, where he would buy heroin to take back up to Newburgh.
Another one of the main resellers, Roderick Copeland, allegedly acquired heroin from Bacon every two weeks and gave it to a co-conspirator, William Thomas, who regularly traveled by bus between the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan and Pittsburgh, where the heroin was then distributed.
Those charged in the indictment are:
BRIAN BACON, a.k.a. Prime Minister, 52, Bronx, NY
JEROME TURNBOUGH, 55, Newburgh, NY
DEVONNA BARRERAS, a.k.a. Creechbarreras, 22, Newburgh, NY
TAMAR DILLARD, a.k.a. Young Buck, 37, Bronx, NY
KENNETH PARRIS, 42, Uniondale, NY
JAMAUL AZIZ, 34, Monticello, NY
RODERICK COPELAND, 51, Manhattan, NY
DONNA MARIE HAGGANS, 49, Bronx, NY
WALLACE WALKER, Bronx, NY
WILLIAM THOMAS, JR., 50, Pittsburgh, PA
EDDIE L. CULLINS, 44, Newburgh, NY
GILBERT MAXI, 22, Monticello, NY
RAYMOS BERTRAND, 43, Bronx, NY
The charges against the defendants are accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in a court of law.
This is the third major take down of a narcotics distribution network by the New York Attorney General’s office in the last three weeks, totaling more than sixty arrests. Including this case, OCTF has busted 24 large drug trafficking gangs, made more than 560 felony narcotics arrests, and seized more than $1.5 million, 80 guns, and more than 2,000 pounds of illegal drugs in the last four years.
The New York Attorney General’s office has undertaken a comprehensive approach toward reducing opioid drug abuse in New York State. In October 2014, Attorney General Schneiderman initiated the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic Heroin Task Force (NEMA-HTF), which brings together state attorneys general from New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maine, and Maryland to collaborate, coordinate, and share information to combat large-scale distribution operations spanning multiple states. I-STOP, the nation’s first real-time prescription tracking system for the most addictive prescription drugs, reduced doctor shopping in New York by 75 percent in just the first 8 months of the program. The Community Overdose Prevention (COP) program has supplied law enforcement departments across the state with naloxone, which has been used to save more than 100 lives from opioid overdoses in less than a year.
The investigation that led to today’s indictment was conducted by NYSP-CNET Investigators Christopher Fox, Gary Mazzacano, Senior Investigators Charles Kelly and Robert D’Angelo, Lieutenant Francis Kealty, and Captain William McEvoy. The commanding officer of NYSP-CNET is Major David Krause. They were joined by NYAG-OCTF Investigators Brad Farrell and Edwin Margenat, Supervising Investigator Kevin McCann, and Deputy Chief Christopher Vasta.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Deputy Attorney General Jonathan Sennett and Assistant Deputy Attorney General Cristina A. Villani. The Organized Crime Task Force is led by Deputy Attorney General Peri Alyse Kadanoff. The Executive Deputy Attorney General for Criminal Prosecutions is Kelly Donovan.