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“Ever Changing . . . For the Better”
Orange County District Attorney David M. Hoovler, on Friday, July 31, 2020, announced the release of the District Attorney’s Office 2019 Annual Report. The Report outlines the structure of the District Attorney’s Office and the operations of its various units; provides statistics on the number of cases that the units in the Office handled in 2019; and describes the facts of several individual cases that the Office prosecuted last year.
Highlights of the Report include:
Changes in the District Attorney’s Office Structure – In anticipation of unprecedented changes in the criminal justice system in New York, which became effective January 1, 2020, the District Attorney’s Office changed its structure, from one involving specialized units, to one reducing that specialization in favor of a system that took more control at the outset of document collection and the drafting of legal documents.
Narcotics Enforcement – In 2019, the District Attorney’s Office completed two major drug investigations.
Operation Bread, White, and Blues took down two separate narcotics conspiracies, one that primarily involved members and associates of self-professed “outlaw” motorcycle clubs that were trafficking cocaine; and another that involved the sale of narcotic pills that were represented to contain oxycodone, but which contained fentanyl, a highly addictive and frequently lethal synthetic opiate. Defendants in the conspiracies included former police officers and active members of local fire departments. Notably, the investigation led to the conviction of an active sergeant with the New York City Department of Environmental Protection Police, who was manufacturing and supplying guns without serial numbers, known as “ghost” guns.
The second narcotics investigation led to the arrest of numerous defendants charged with crimes pertaining to the possession and trafficking of heroin, cocaine, and prescription medications, including the highly addictive opioid oxycodone. The scheme involved, among other things, two of the participants creating false prescriptions from the Goshen medical practice where they worked as office managers.
Newburgh Enlarged City School District Investigation – A grand jury investigation into aspects of the operation of the Newburgh school district resulted in the filing of a grand jury report containing recommendations to address flaws in the district’s use of student-testing products and in its use of excused absences for its student athletes.
City of Newburgh Anti-Violence Efforts – The District Attorney’s Office, the City of Newburgh Police Department, and other law-enforcement partners continued to use innovative strategies to reduce violent crime in the City, including the Gun-Involved Violence Elimination Initiative and the Non-Fatal Shootings Initiative. In part as a result of those efforts, the City continued to see historic lows in violent crime.
“2019 was a year of drastic change,” said District Attorney Hoovler, “change that has required my Office to upend decades of practice in favor of strategies that will enable us to be more efficient in the future. Through all those changes, we have remained steadfast in our mission to prosecute the guilty and to protect the innocent. Our anti-drug and anti-violence efforts continue to be second-to-none. As we continue to adapt to changing laws that make law enforcement and prosecution more challenging, we remain unwavering in our commitment to bring to justice those who threaten Orange County’s residents and communities.”
Copies of the Annual Report are available by contacting District Attorney Hoovler’s Special Projects and Community Affairs Bureau at (845) 291-2050 or by email to DACommunityAffairs@orangecountygov.com.