ATTORNEY GENERAL CUOMO ANNOUNCES THE ARREST OF DOZENS OF VIOLENT GANG MEMBERS ALLEGEDLY INVOLVED IN HIGHLY ORGANIZED DRUG DISTRIBUTION RING
"Operation Blood Trail" leads to indictment of 41 reputed members or associates of 'The Bloods' street gang and confiscation of guns, cocaine, heroin, and marijuana
Dozens of potentially violent crimes stopped during 7 month undercover investigation
On Wednesday, Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo announced a major takedown of 41 members and associates of the violent "Bloods" street gang who were operating a narcotics distribution ring that sold cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and guns throughout the Capital Region and elsewhere in New York.
As part of a multi-agency investigation code-named "Operation Blood Trail," state and local law enforcement agents led by the New York State Attorney General's Organized Crime Task Force (OCTF) and the Albany Police Department conducted a seven month-long investigation that included undercover operations, hundreds of hours of covert surveillance, and wiretaps.
The investigation was sparked by a tip detailing a massive and violent drug operation. The subsequent investigation established the existence of a narcotics pipeline that flowed from Long Island and Brooklyn to Albany's South End, Arbor Hill, Clifton Park, Lake George, Watervliet, Schenectady, Troy, and Cohoes. Every month, these gang-affiliated dealers were responsible for tens of thousands of dollars in illicit drug sales.
During the investigation, undercover agents heard dozens of crimes being planned while monitoring wiretaps. Through coordination with different departments, those potential crimes were stopped without jeopardizing the investigation. Those potential crimes included assaults and robberies.
"These arrests deal a major blow to violent gang activities that have afflicted communities from the Capital Region to Long Island," said Attorney General Cuomo. "By working together with our partners in law enforcement, we shut down a dangerous drug pipeline and prevented crimes from occurring. This case is a model for how local and state government can join forces to protect the safety and health of the people of New York State."
Albany Mayor Gerald D. Jennings said, "I would like to thank Attorney General Cuomo for coordinating this extensive investigation, the results of which will have an enduring impact on violent crimes in the City of Albany. It is critically important that the residents of our cities, towns and villages feel safe in their own communities, and thanks to Attorney General Cuomo's coordination and leadership, today the entire Capital Region is much safer from the plague of drugs, guns, and violent street gangs."
New York State Police Acting Superintendent John P. Melville said, "The violence associated with the illegal drug trade continues to take its toll on our communities. The investigative effort put forth in this case has resulted in the arrest of many dangerous individuals who were part of an organized group responsible for pedaling drugs and guns for profit. The New York State Police continues to be committed to working with all of our law enforcement partners in bringing narcotics and weapons traffickers to justice."
Albany Police Chief Steven Krokoff said, "Today's successful investigation shows once again that when we are able to eliminate gangs and their criminal enterprises we can have a positive impact on violent crime in our community. Thanks to coordinated efforts like the one led today by Attorney General Cuomo and his office, we can continue to make our neighborhoods and streets safer for our residents and target those who engage in violent crime."
The drug distribution network was extremely organized, making members recite oaths of loyalty and holding weekly meetings to go over details of the operation. Members who missed the meetings were often subject to discipline, including physical beatings.
Among those indicted was defendant Myles Jackson, a/k/a "Busy," who has "street status" giving him standing in the national Bloods organization. Jackson ran the Albany-based faction of the Bloods called "G-Shine" operating in Albany County, until July when he was shot four times in the vicinity of Lexington Avenue and First Street in Albany in a hit allegedly ordered by co-defendant Ronald Wright, a/k/a "Nino" in a power struggle to take over their G-Shine faction. Jackson survived the shooting.
During the investigation, law enforcement seized eight handguns, a rifle, an assault rifle, approximately $65,000 cash, six pounds of marijuana, one ounce of bulk heroin (approximate street value of $20,000-$25,000), one ounce of bulk cocaine (approximate street value of $3,500-$4,000), approximately 4 bundles of heroin (approximate street value of $800), numerous small bags of cocaine, a digital scale, and drug packaging.
The defendants were arraigned today by Albany County Court Judge Thomas A. Breslin.
According to gang investigators, in 1993, a group on the East Coast created a gang known as the United Blood Nation. Born in the Rikers Island New York jail, inmates created the group as a way to protect themselves from the Latin Kings, which was the most prevalent group in the jail system at that time. Although the United Blood Nation was born in the prison system, as members were paroled to the streets, they formed Bloods street gangs on the East Coast emulating the Los Angeles Bloods lifestyle.
"Operation Blood Trail" is part of Attorney General Cuomo's ongoing efforts to combat narcotic trafficking and other crimes through his Organized Crime Task Force. Since 2007, the Attorney General's Organized Crime Task Force has conducted a variety of operations in cooperation with local, state, and federal authorities, resulting in charges against more than 463 defendants and seizures of more than $6 million in drugs and cash, as well as dozens of guns.
The first indictment, which was unsealed today and contains 170 counts, charges 21 people with Enterprise Corruption in relation to their involvement in the narcotics trafficking operation:
- Hector Acevedo, a/k/a "Lex," 32, of Albany
- Jessica Baxter, a/k/a "Jess," 35, of Latham
- Kareem Blacknall, a/k/a "Reem," of Albany
- Benjamin Brooke, a/k/a "Ben," of Lake George
- Collin Campbell, a/k/a "White Boy," 31, of Brooklyn
- Joseph Collins, 44, of Brunswick
- Erick Cochran, a/k/a "E-Murder," 27, of Albany
- Demitrius Daye, a/k/a "DJ," 24, of Cohoes
- Latif Dickson, a/k/a "LA," 20, of Albany
- Jerry Fernandez, 46, of Albany
- Myles Jackson, a/k/a "Busy," 28, of Albany
- Chester Ketchmore, a/k/a "Double-O," 33, of Albany
- Kasiem King, a/k/a "Weezie," 24, of Albany
- Jermaine Lacy, 25, of Albany
- Rashid Laliveres, a/k/a "RA," 33, of Albany
- Shaanan Laliveres, a/k/a "Smookie," a/k/a "SK," 34, of Albany
- Jason Lance, a/k/a "Snake," 40, of Albany
- Sylvia Marrott, 21, of Albany
- Sakai Scott, a/k/a "Kai," 34 of Albany
- Jeffrey Simmons, 40, of Albany
- Ronald Wright, a/k/a "Nino," 32, of Long Island
All defendants charged for their involvement in the enterprise face up to 25 years in state prison.
The second indictment which was unsealed today charges 14 people in relation to their involvement in a narcotics conspiracy involving heroin and cocaine trafficking. Those people indicted on the narcotics trafficking charges include:
- Keon Beverly, a/k/a "Light," 28, of Albany
- Donte Blades, a/k/a "Piff," 22, of Albany
- Zachary Felder, a/k/a "Munch," of Albany
- Rachel Gagliardi, 24, of Albany
- Ashlie Hudson, 19, of Albany
- Shevon Laliveres, 30, of Albany
- Carlos Montes, Sr., a/k/a "Poppie," 53, of Albany
- Germaine Montes, a/k/a "Nino," of Albany
- Jamel Portis, a/k/a "Flame," 31, of Albany
- Rashim Robinson, a/k/a "Ra," 47, of Albany
- Janine Saunders, a/k/a "Fairy Godmother," 51, of Albany
- Rahmee Washington, a/k/a "Po", a/k/a "Flea," 27, of Albany
- Lamar Watson, a/k/a "L," 36, of Albany
- Richard Williams, a/k/a "Pancake," 31, of Albany
- James Zaremski, a/k/a "J," 28, of Colonie
All defendants charged for their involvement in the narcotics trafficking conspiracy face up to 25 years in state prison.
The third indictment which was unsealed today charged six people in relation to their involvement in a marijuana trafficking conspiracy. Those people indicted on marijuana trafficking charges include:
- Michael Bland, 31, of Albany
- Naton Bland, a/k/a "Day," 27, of Albany
- Zachary Felder, a/k/a "Munch," of Albany
- Nyashia Jones, 23, of Albany
- Carlos Montes, Jr., a/k/a "Mach," 37, of Albany
- Sylvester Scott, a/k/a "Soup," a/k/a "Super," 34, of Albany
All defendants charged for their involvement in the marijuana trafficking ring face up to 4 years in state prison.
The charges are the result of a seven month joint investigation by the Albany Police Department and the New York State Attorney General's Organized Crime Task Force, with the assistance of the New York State Police, the National Guard, and the U.S. Marshals Service.
Attorney General Cuomo thanks and commends OCTF Special Investigator Dennis Guiry and Supervising Investigator William Charles, as well as Albany County Police Department Detective John Monte and Sergeants Brian Quinn and Jeff Roberts.
The case is being prosecuted by OCTF Assistant Deputy Attorney Generals Michael Sharpe and Audrey Maiello Cunningham, under the supervision of Deputy Attorney General for OCTF Peri Alyse Kadanoff.
The charges against the defendants are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.