US Charges 25 Members of Middletown Cocaine trafficking Organization – American Crime Law News American Legal News –
PREET BHARARA, the United States Attorney for the
Southern District of New York, JOHN J. GILBRIDE, the Special
Agent-In-Charge of the New York Field Division of the Drug
Enforcement Administration (“DEA”), JOHN P. MELVILLE, the Acting
Superintendent of the New York State Police, RAMON BETHENCOURT,
the Chief of the Middletown (N.Y.) Police Department, and CARL E.
DuBOIS, the Orange County Sheriff, today announced the unsealing
of an Indictment charging 25 members of a Middletown, New Yorkbased
drug trafficking organization with conspiracy to distribute
powder cocaine and crack cocaine, primarily in Middletown. In a
coordinated strike earlier today, more than 100 federal, state
and local law enforcement officers arrested 16 defendants in
Middletown, Newburgh, Queens, and New Jersey. Seven defendants
are still being sought, and two were already in custody.

According to the Indictment unsealed today in White Plains
federal court:
Between May 2009 and March 2010, a cocaine trafficking
organization led by MARK COLON (the “Colon Organization”),
distributed large quantities of powder cocaine and cocaine base
in the form commonly referred to as “crack.” The Colon
Organization regularly obtained a supply of multiple kilogram
quantities of cocaine from Puerto Rico. The cocaine was
transported to a location in Fair Lawn, New Jersey, then further
distributed to locations in and around Middletown, New York, as
well as in the Bronx and Queens. In and around Middletown, some
of the powder cocaine was cooked into crack and further
distributed in meetings in parking lots, homes, and vehicles.
MARK COLON oversaw the Colon Organization’s efforts in
obtaining supplies of cocaine, transporting the cocaine, and
collecting the proceeds of cocaine and crack distribution. In
GUITI-LOPEZ were members of the Colon Organization. The
defendants delivered the powder cocaine and crack to a network of
other members of the Colon Organization, most of whom were in
Middletown, for further distribution. Some deliveries were
arranged via phone conversations, during which members of the
Colon Organization specified the amount of drugs, the price of
the drugs, and the place and time to do the drug deals.
The Colon Organization temporarily stored drugs and
drug proceeds in locations in Middletown, Bloomingburg, and New
Jersey. Earlier today, law enforcement officers executed courtauthorized
search warrants on six of these locations. During
these searches, officers recovered, among other evidence, more
than one kilogram of powder cocaine and a loaded assault rifle.
The defendants charged in the Indictment unsealed today
are as follows: MARK COLON, 36, Fair Lawn, New Jersey; ANGEL
COLON, 34, Mount Hope, New York; GABRIEL BORIA, 25, Middletown,
New York; BENNY ROSARIO, 34, Middletown, New York; EDUARDO SILVA,
27, Middletown, New York; SANTOS CRESPO-AYUSO, 24, Wallkill, New
ASCA-TORRES, 23, Bronx, New York; HERMAN BURTON, 26, Middletown,
New York; DONALD CANNON, 36, Middletown, New York; JORGE CENTENO,
32, Queens, New York; JOSE DE LA CRUZ, 34, Middletown, New York;
DAAMU DIGGS, 36, Middletown, New York; GUALBERTO FINES, 32,
Bronx, New York; ANGEL GONZALEZ, 29, Middletown, New York; OTIS
JONES, 29, Newburgh, New York; DAMIAN LEWIS, 33, Middletown, New
York; THOMAS CARTER LOVE, 25, Middletown, New York; THELONIOUS
MONK, 38, Middletown, New York; CARLOS RIVERA, 27, Middletown,
New York; LIONEL VEGA, 27, Middletown, New York; PURYEAR VENABLE,
26, Middletown, New York; CHARLES WARNER, 24, Middletown, New
York; KEVIN WASHINGTON, 38, Port Jervis, New York; and JAMES
WILLIAMS, 31, Middletown, New York.

Mr. BHARARA praised the investigative work of the Drug
Enforcement Administration, the New York State Police, the
Middletown Police Department, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office,
and the United States Marshals Service. He added that the
investigation is continuing. The arrested defendants are
expected to be arraigned this afternoon in White Plains federal
court before a Magistrate Judge.
Mr. BHARARA said, “Targeting the principal members of
criminal organizations that spread dangerous drugs throughout our
streets and neighborhoods is critically important to keeping our
communities safe. Today’s takedown of 25 members of a cocaine
trafficking organization in Middletown, New York, is the latest
testament to our commitment, with our local, state, and federal
law enforcement partners, to confront drug trafficking on our the
streets of our cities, suburbs, and rural areas.”
Mr. GILBRIDE said, “The arrests made today send a clear
message to drug traffickers operating on suburban back
streets. You may think you are out of sight but you are not out
of mind. DEA and our law enforcement partners worked this
investigation from pillar to post taking out the source of supply
in Puerto Rico to the dealers in Middletown, New York. These
individuals will no longer threaten the safety of the citizens of
New York.”

Mr. MELVILLE said, “These indictments are a direct
result of continuing multi-agency law enforcement efforts to rid
New York of narcotic trafficking and to make New York State’s
streets safer. These indictments send a strong message to drug
dealers throughout the region that New York State will not
tolerate drugs in its communities.”
Mr. BETHENCOURT said, “These arrests and this
investigation involved exceptional cooperation from multiple
agencies and that cooperation was paramount in attempting to
establish a case against a criminal organization of this
magnitude. The amazing teamwork involved and the commitment of
all agencies should send an exceptionally clear message to people
who are looking to sell drugs in and around the City of
Middletown – from the smallest street corner peddler to people
and organizations trafficking kilograms of cocaine: You may get
away with it today, but sooner or later, we will find you, we
will arrest you, and we will see that you are prosecuted to the
fullest extent of the law.”

Mr. DuBOIS said, “It is imperative that law enforcement
agencies combine resources and manpower to combat the sale and
distribution of illegal drugs. The results of this investigation
clearly show that when law enforcement works together, the public
benefits greatly by removing these dangerous criminals and drugs
from our neighborhoods.”

All 25 defendants are charged in Count One of the
Indictment with conspiring to distribute 5 kilograms and more of
powder cocaine and 50 grams and more of crack cocaine. If
convicted, the defendants all face maximum sentences of life and
mandatory sentences of 10 years in prison on Count One. MARK
ASCA-TORRES are charged in Count Two with possession with intent
to distribute 500 grams and more of cocaine. They each face a
maximum sentence of 40 years in prison and a mandatory sentence
of 5 years in prison on Count Two.
Assistant United States Attorneys BENJAMIN ALLEE and
KATHRYN M. MARTIN are in charge of the prosecution.
The charges contained in the Indictment are merely
accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and
until proven guilty.
10-093 ###

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