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Posted on: April 26, 2019

District Attorney Hoovler Announce Pleas in Cocaine and Narcotic Arrests

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District Attorney Hoovler Announces Additional Guilty Pleas in Cocaine and Narcotic Pills Distribution Conspiracy Cases

“Operation Bread, White and Blues” Targeted Narcotics Distributors and 

Outlaw Motorcycle Club Members

Orange County District Attorney David M. Hoovler announced on Thursday, April 25, 2019, Robert Dunham, 46, of Middletown, pleaded guilty before Orange County Court Judge Craig Brown, to Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the First Degree and Conspiracy in the Second Degree, in connection with the enforcement action dubbed “Operation Bread, White and Blues”.  On April 24, 2019, Kenneth Nunez, 39, of Spring Valley, pleaded guilty to Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Second Degree; Joel Gamble, 44, of Cuddebackville, pleaded guilty to Conspiracy in the Second Degree and Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree; and, Shawn Daniels, 52, of Middletown, pleaded guilty to Conspiracy in the Second Degree.  All the guilty pleas were in connection with the Operation Bread, White and Blues enforcement action.

Indictments arising from that enforcement action outlined two separate conspiracies, one of which primarily involves members and associates of self-professed “outlaw” motorcycle clubs trafficking cocaine, and another of which involves the sale of narcotic pills which were represented to contain oxycodone, but which contained fentanyl, a highly addictive and frequently lethal narcotic. The name of the operation referred to the co-conspirators use of the term “bread” to mean money they obtained through the sale of narcotics, “white” to represent the cocaine which was sold, and “blues” to represent the blue colored pills which were being trafficked. Most of the defendants in the action were arrested in a series of early morning raids and search warrant executions which occurred on Tuesday, February 5, 2019.

Dunham was alleged to have been a member of both conspiracies.  At the time that he pleaded guilty, Dunham admitted having possessed over two ounces of cocaine on October 4, 2018 in furtherance of one of the conspiracies. Pursuant to the plea agreement placed on the record at the time Dunham pleaded guilty, he will be sentenced to eight and one-third to twenty-five years in state prison on the conspiracy count when he is sentenced on July 11, 2019, and potentially faces additional incarceration on the other charge. 

At the time that he pleaded guilty, Nunez admitted to possessing more than four ounces of cocaine on December 29, 2018, which prosecutors argued he had transported into Orange County in furtherance of the conspiracy to distribute cocaine. Pursuant to the plea agreement placed on the record at the time Nunez pleaded guilty, he will be sentenced to no more than eight years in state prison, and five years post-release supervision, when he is sentenced on June 6, 2019. Joel Gamble, who admitted being a member of the conspiracy to distribute cocaine, is scheduled to be sentenced on June 6, 2019.  Pursuant to the plea agreement placed on the record at the time Joel Gamble pleaded guilty, the District Attorney’s Office will recommend that he be sentenced to four and one-half to nine years in state prison for Conspiracy in the Second Degree, and six years in state prison for Criminal Possession of a Controlled substance in the Third Degree.

Shawn Daniels, who admitted involvement in the conspiracy to distribute pills containing narcotics, is scheduled to be sentenced on July 10, 2019.  Prosecutors stated on the record that they will be recommending that Daniels be sentenced to one to three years in state prison.

On February 5, 2019, members of the New York State Police Community Narcotics Enforcement Team aided by the New York State Police Special Operations Response Team and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, had executed multiple search warrants and made over twenty arrests throughout Orange County, and Rockland County.  The arrests and search warrant executions were as a result of a six-month-long narcotics investigation. Law enforcement officials recovered more than $200,000, 25 handguns, one assault rifle, multiple rifles, ten vehicles, two motorcycles, over 2.5 pounds of cocaine and 1300 Fentanyl pills.

The New York State Police were assisted by the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, the Drug Enforcement Agency, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

District Attorney Hoovler thanked the New York State Police for their efforts in this investigation.  District Attorney Hoovler highly commended the New York State Police for their investigation given the complexity of the case. 

Assistant District Attorney Neal Eriksen assisted in the investigation of the case and is assisting in prosecuting all of the defendants charged in the operation.

Senior Assistant District Attorneys Kerry Kolek and David Byrne are prosecuting all the defendants charged in the operation.

In addition to filing criminal charges, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office has also instituted a civil forfeiture proceeding against many of these defendants in the cocaine conspiracy in order to seize from them profits that they have made illegally selling narcotics.  Assistant District Attorney Nicholas Mangold is conducting the civil forfeiture proceedings.

“Narcotics trafficking is destroying the fabric of our society, killing our residents, and must be fought at every level,” said District Attorney David M. Hoovler.  “It is only through enforcement actions such as ‘Operation Bread, White and Blue’ that law enforcement is able to pursue those higher-level drug dealers and craftier offenders who attempt to insulate themselves from criminal liability by dealing drugs through intermediaries.”

A criminal charge is merely an allegation 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’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

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