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Orange County NewsFor Immediate Release Contact: Christopher Borek Wednesday, September 28, 2022 845.291.3276, 845.238.4245c
Orange County District Attorney David M. Hoovler, Orange County Sheriff Carl E. DuBois, Pike County District Attorney Raymond Tonkin and City of Port Jervis Police Chief William Worden join other Law Enforcement Officials in Announcing Arrests Stemming from Tri-State Narcotics Enforcement Action Centered in Western Orange County, New York, Pike County, Pennsylvania, and Vernon, New Jersey
“Operation Final Blow” Was an Over Four-Month-Long Investigation Designed to Disrupt Major Narcotics Trafficking in the City of Port Jervis and Surrounding Areas.
Law Enforcement Agencies from Three States and the Federal Government Coordinated Their Efforts to Charge 36 Defendants with Engaging in a Conspiracy to Distribute Large Amounts of Cocaine.
17 Search Warrants Were Executed Within Three States.
Approximately 2 Kilograms of Cocaine, 74 Grams of Heroin, 165 Grams of Fentanyl, 1,600 Ecstasy Pills and 235 Oxycodone Pills, as well as Seven Firearms Seized
Orange County District Attorney David M. Hoovler, Orange County Sheriff Carl E. DuBois, Pike County District Attorney Raymond Tonkin and City of Port Jervis Police Chief William Worden were joined by the New York State Police, Pennsylvania State Police, New Jersey State Police and other law enforcement officials, at a press conference held on September 28, 2022, to announce charges against 36 defendants that resulted from an over four-month-long investigation designed to disrupt major narcotics trafficking in the City of Port Jervis and surrounding areas, including Pike County, Pennsylvania.
The investigation, dubbed “Operation Final Blow” was initially started by the City of Port Jervis Police Department, the Orange County Drug Task Force, the New York State Police Violent Gang and Narcotics Enforcement Team, the Pike County Criminal Investigations Division of the Pike County District Attorney’s Office, and the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, and included the use of court ordered eavesdropping, as well as the execution of seventeen search warrants. Other law enforcement agencies who provided crucial aid in the investigation included the Town of Deerpark Police Department, the City of Middletown Police Department, the Town of Wallkill Police Department, the Pennsylvania State Police, the New Jersey State Police, the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office, the Sussex County Guns, Gang and Narcotics Taskforce, and the Sussex County Prosecutor’s Office. Federal agencies who aided in the operation included Homeland Security Investigations (“HSI”), the FBI’s Safe Streets Taskforce and the United States Marshall’s Service Fugitive Task Force.
Search warrants executed during the investigation resulted in the seizure of approximately two kilograms of cocaine, 74 grams of heroin, 165 grams of fentanyl, 1,600 ecstasy pills and 235 pills containing oxycodone, as well as seven illegally possessed firearms and $153,690. Eleven automobiles, four motorcycles and two ATVs were also taken into evidence.
In addition to court-ordered eavesdropping and search warrants, the investigation included controlled narcotic purchases. Three of those charged in the operation, Wayne Smith, 42, of Deerpark, Joseph Bruno, 43, of Port Jervis, and Christian Shomo, 33, of Mount Hope, are charged in Orange County, New York, with Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the First Degree, for having sold over four ounces of cocaine on September 7, 2022. Jose Parra, 61, of Port Washington, New York, is also charged with Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the First Degree, in Orange County, New York, for selling over four ounces of cocaine on August 14, 2022. Those defendants each face up to 20 years in state prison on those charges.
Following the execution of a search warrant at her residence, Tyara Porter, 47, of Monticello, was charged in Sullivan County with Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Second Degree, for possessing over four ounces of fentanyl. She is also charged in Orange County with crimes including Conspiracy in the Second Degree.
Andrew Mitchell was charged in Sussex County, New Jersey with the crimes of Maintaining/Operating a Controlled Dangerous Substance Production Facility, Controlled Dangerous Substance Manufacturing/Distributing/Possession, Possession of a Firearm, and Money Laundering.
The following defendants have been charged with the class B felony of Conspiracy in the Second Degree, for having agreed to engage in or cause the performance of conduct constituting the class A felony of Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the First Degree. Conspiracy in the Second Degree carries a maximum sentence of eight and one-third to twenty-five years in state prison if the defendant has had no prior felony conviction in the last ten years, or a maximum sentence of twelve and one-half to twenty-five years in prison if the defendant has such a prior felony conviction.
Port Jervis, NY
Mount Hope, NY
Glen Spey, NY
Port Washington, NY
Pike County, PA
Rock Hill, NY
Village of Chester, NY
In 2019, “bail reform” legislation was enacted that severely limits the courts’ ability to set bail for offenses involving narcotics sales. In narcotics sweeps in Orange County prior to the legislation, some bail was set by the court for almost all defendants charged with selling narcotics. Although the District Attorney’s Office has requested bail in every bail-eligible case, to date only seven of the defendants charged were held on bail in connection with the enforcement action.
Police and prosecutors are requesting the public’s help in locating the following individuals who are wanted on felony complaints charging them with crimes including Conspiracy in the Second Degree:
“The amount of narcotics being trafficked in western Orange County and the surrounding areas is simply staggering,” said District Attorney David M. Hoovler. “It is only through the coordinated actions of various law enforcement agencies that we can stop those higher-level dealers who try to insulate themselves by only dealing in large amounts with other criminals who they know and trust. I am grateful to all the law enforcement agencies that dedicated their resources and untiring efforts to disrupt the flow of narcotics into the area of Orange County that so many of us call home. Because the Port Jervis area includes law enforcement agencies across three states, drug dealers often rely on spreading their crimes across jurisdictions to shield themselves from detection. I am particularly grateful for the way that New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania authorities coordinated their efforts with each other, and our federal partners, to demonstrate that we will not let the proliferation of drugs in our community go unchecked. I commend the dedicated and collaborative efforts of the Orange County Drug Task Force and all the law enforcement agencies involved in this action.”
Orange County Sheriff Carl E. DuBois said, “"Once again the Orange County Sheriff's Office and District Attorney's Drug Task Force have worked together to infiltrate persons who are responsible for poisoning and sometimes killing residents of Orange County and beyond. Our commitment to disrupting drug & gun trafficking by enforcing the law will vigorously continue."
Pike County District Attorney Raymond J. Tonkin said, “The size of this drug organization and the quantities of drugs they peddled into our communities was certainly very striking. The fact that there are state borders between our jurisdictions will not stop law enforcement from pursing drug traffickers that can ruin an entire community. The cooperative effort of the multiple law enforcement agencies serving New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania demonstrates that no matter how large or small a drug trafficking organization is we will all work together to make the Tri-State Area an excellent place to live, operate a business and raise a family. Anyone thinking about stepping up into the drug sale business should know that they will not be able to take advantage of the state borders in this area because law enforcement will work together to arrest and prosecute you.”
City of Port Jervis Police Chief William J. Worden said, “This enforcement action effectively dismantled a widespread criminal organization, from top to bottom, who collectively were responsible for the distribution of large quantities of narcotic drugs, and will have a significant impact on the safety and quality of life in the City of Port Jervis, Pike County and the great tri-state community. I cannot be prouder of the professionalism, dedication and relentless efforts of the investigators, officers, agents, and prosecutors assigned to this case who have tirelessly worked together throughout the course of this investigation to develop the necessary information and probable cause to hold these individuals accountable for their actions. These arrests underscore our determination to reclaim our streets from drug dealers, and other offenders who endanger the safety of our residents and degrade the quality of life of our communities. We will not stand for those who sell this poison on our streets and will continue to work with our law enforcement partners in the Tri-State area to share information and resources to make sure that those who deliberately put our residents and families in harm’s way are held accountable for their actions whether it is in Port Jervis or elsewhere.”
The Orange County, New York cases are being prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Neal Eriksen and Assistant District Attorney Alexis Gregory.
The Sussex County, New Jersey case against Mitchell is being prosecuted by Special Deputy Attorney General / Acting Assistant Prosecutor Jerome P. Neidhardt of the Sussex County Prosecutor’s Office.
The Pike County District Attorney’s Office is prosecuting the following defendants: Alice Miller, Richard Smith, Scott Walker, Bobby Jakubowski, and Max Hechinger.
A criminal charge is merely an allegation by the police that a defendant has committed a violation of the criminal law, and it is not evidence of guilt. All defendants are presumed innocent and entitled to a fair trial, during which it will be the State of New York’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.