Operation Re-Sale’ Leads to Seizure of Cocaine and Cash; Part of AG Cuomo’s Upstate Guns, Gangs, and Drugs Initiative

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (December 3, 2009) - Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo today announced narcotics trafficking and other charges have been filed against 21 individuals accused of taking part in a drug distribution network that was funneling cocaine from the Bronx to Rochester and was then re-sold in Cayuga, Ontario, Seneca, and Monroe Counties and elsewhere in New York.

According to court records, an investigation by the Attorney General’s Organized Task Force (OCTF) and the Finger Lakes Drugs Task Force dubbed, “Operation Re-Sale,” led to the seizure of more than a kilogram of cocaine with an estimated street value of $56,000 and approximately $50,000 cash, most of which was found in a secret compartment built into a Dodge Nitro operated by defendant Hamlet Florencio-Peralta.

“The breakup of this drug ring is another example of how law enforcement can successfully work together to make our communities safer,” said Attorney General Cuomo. “Our Upstate Guns, Gangs and Drugs Initiative has led to a coordinated response that sends a clear message that we will not tolerate the dealing of dangerous drugs in any part of the state.”

According to the indictment, a substantial amount of cocaine was delivered from sources in the Bronx to Rochester then to re-sellers who would distribute it in Cayuga, Ontario, Seneca, and Monroe Counties. Wiretap evidence included in the indictment shows that the defendants would discuss their drug transactions in a cryptic and coded manner in the hope of avoiding detection. For example, when using cellular telephones the defendants allegedly would use phrases such as “tubes”, “caulk”, “silicone”, “limestone”, “putty”, “ticket(s)”, “sausages”, “guy(s) to work”, “broad(s)” to refer to cocaine and/or crack cocaine.

Cayuga County District Attorney Jon Budelmann said, “I want to thank and commend Attorney General Andrew Cuomo for his Office’s participation in the investigation and prosecution of this matter. This prosecution brings an end to a high-level drug conspiracy which connected a major, very organized cocaine source with this rural community. This cocaine conspiracy brought this narcotic, this poison all the way from New York City out into our towns and villages. I also want to thank all of the various police agencies that assisted in Operation Resale, especially the Finger Lakes Drug Task Force. I look forward to continuing our productive partnership with the Attorney General’s Office.”

Monroe County District Attorney Michael Green said, “It is always a good thing when multiple law enforcement agencies pool resources to remove criminal elements from our streets. Attorney General Cuomo’s Organized Crime Task Force excels at managing such an operation, and I am proud to be a part of this bust, which removes thousands of dollars in dangerous drugs from our communities.”

The 112 count indictment unsealed in Cayuga County Supreme Court today charges 21 people with crimes including various Criminal Sale and Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance (class A,B,C,D felonies) and Conspiracy in the second degree (class B felony).

The indictment is the culmination of a major investigation led by Attorney General Cuomo’s OCTF and is part of his ongoing efforts to combat narcotic trafficking and other crimes through his Upstate Guns, Gangs, and Drugs Initiative.

Since its inception in 2007, the Attorney General’s Upstate Guns, Gangs, and Drugs Initiative has conducted a variety of operations in cooperation with local, state, and federal authorities, resulting in charges against more than 420 defendants and seizures of more than $3.4 million in drugs and cash, as well as dozens of guns.

Numerous other agencies assisted in the investigation including: Drug Enforcement Administration in New York City and Syracuse, New York State Police Community Narcotics Enforcement Team, New York National Guard Counter Drug Task Force, Cayuga County Sheriff, Greater Rochester Area Narcotics Enforcement Team, and the Auburn Police Department. Attorney General Cuomo thanked and commended these agencies.

Those charged in the Cayuga County indictment are:

* Bruce Adams, 54, of Auburn
* Vladimir Arias, 32, of Rochester
* Russell Brisson, 30, of Murray
* Jeffrey Compo, 48, of Seneca Falls
* Thomas Coomber, 45, of Auburn
* Jason Ellis, 29, of Rochester
* Wilfredo Figueroa, 31, of Rochester
* Hamlet Florencio-Peralta, 36, of Yonkers
* Mark Fuhry, 23, of Rochester
* Matthew Fuhry, 28, of Rochester
* Alexander Goris, 37, of Bronx
* Joshua Groat, 25, of Rochester
* Lance Gummerson, 54, of Auburn
* Douglas Hadcock, 38, of Weedsport
* Daniel Kotyk, 57, of Seneca Falls
* Thomas Lipiska, 54, of Auburn
* Felipe Mercedes, 52, of Bronx and Ellenville
* Richard Schram, 45, of Auburn
* Richard Sliski, 55, of Seneca Falls
* Timothy Smith, 51, of Auburn
* Brigido Torres-Feliciano, 33, of Bronx, Paterson NJ, and Campbell OH

The case is being prosecuted by OCTF Assistant Deputy Attorney General Maria Moran under the supervision of Executive Deputy Attorney General for Criminal Justice Robin L. Baker, and OCTF First Assistant Deputy Attorney General Peri Alyse Kadanoff. The investigation was handled by Sergeant Roger Anthony of the Finger Lakes Drug Task Force under the supervision of OCTF Supervising Investigator Ronald Vincent and OCTF Chief Thomas Mullen.

The charges against the defendants are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.