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District Attorney Hoovler and Orange County Sheriff Carl DuBois Announce Countywide Narcotics Enforcement Action
18 Defendants Charged with Trafficking Heroin,
Cocaine and Prescription Medications
Goshen, NY – Orange County District Attorney David M. Hoovler, and Orange County Sheriff Carl DuBois, today announced that eighteen defendants have been charged with crimes pertaining to the trafficking of heroin, cocaine, and prescription medications throughout Orange County as part of an enforcement action conducted by the Orange County Drug Task Force and the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.
The enforcement action primarily used undercover police officers to purchase heroin, cocaine, and prescription medications. The countywide enforcement action, one of many since District Attorney Hoovler took office, was designed to help clean up neighborhoods throughout Orange County by targeting individuals trafficking narcotics. In addition to the undercover narcotics purchases, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office initiated an investigation into a group of individuals involved in a conspiracy to illegally obtain oxycodone by electronically issuing false prescriptions for the highly addictive narcotic drug, oxycodone. As a result of the District Attorney’s investigation, six defendants were charged with felony conspiracy charges. Two defendants were also charged with Operating as a Major Trafficker for causing 51,375 oxycodone pills, having a street value of over $625,852, to be illegally dispensed.
Most of the purchases of the drugs, and many of the arrests, were performed by the Orange County Drug Task Force. That Task Force, which was created in 2015, is run under the supervision of a Senior Criminal Investigator from the District Attorney’s Office and a Senior Investigator from the Orange County Sheriff’s Office. In addition to personnel from those agencies, the Drug Task Force is composed of police officers from other Orange County police departments. Currently the Town of Montgomery Police Department, the Town of Wallkill Police Department, and the Town of Highlands Police Department have committed to assigning police officers to work on the Task Force. The Drug Task Force assists other agencies in conducting narcotics investigations, including undercover investigations, throughout the county. Some of the agencies which assisted in the enforcement action included the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, City of Newburgh Police Department, Town of Newburgh Police Department, Town of Montgomery Police Department, Town of New Windsor Police Department, Town of Wallkill Police Department, Town of Warwick Police Department, Village of Monroe Police Department, Village of Walden Police Department, U.S. Marshalls Fugitive Task Force, and the Hudson Valley Crime Analysis Center.
Those charged in the enforcement action include Kevin Fernandez-Paz, 20, of Wallkill, and Jeffery Wanyu-Arenas, 20, of Newburgh, who were each charged with the Class A-II felony of Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Second Degree and, along with Virginia Salinas, 20, of Newburgh, the Class B felony Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree All three are alleged to have trafficked cocaine in the Village of Monroe.
Jodee O’Dell, 38, of Goshen, and Vanessa Hinkley, 40, of Pine Bush were each charged with Operating as a Major Trafficker and Conspiracy in the Second Degree. Both O’Dell and Hinkley had been employees of BAJA Medical Offices, PLLC, in the Village of Goshen, and are alleged to have caused electronic prescriptions for oxycodone to be issued in the names of persons who were never patients of that medical office. It is alleged that they did this by using electronic devices within the office to generate the prescriptions without the medical staff, including the doctors, being aware of the prescriptions being issued. It is alleged that between January 6, 2015 and August 27, 2018, O’Dell and Hinckley caused 51,375 oxycodone pills to be dispensed to individuals, using the fraudulent electronic prescriptions. The case was brought to the attention of the District Attorney’s Office by the medical office once they became aware of the diverted narcotics. Four other defendants were charged with Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree for filling the fraudulent prescriptions. It is alleged that after they filled the fraudulent prescriptions, they kept some of the pills, but gave the majority of the pills to other co-conspirators. The total street value of the pills which were illegally dispensed was in excess of $625,852.
Those charged in this enforcement action include:
Location of Crime
Village of Goshen
Operating as a Major Trafficker
Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree
Village of Monroe
Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Second Degree, and Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree
City of Newburgh
Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree
The following defendants are currently charged with the Class B felonies, Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree, and Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree:
Town of Newburgh
City of Middletown
Town of Wallkill
Arrest Warrant *
* The District Attorney’s Office is seeking the public’s assistance in the apprehension of Darnell Wright. An Arrest Warrant was obtained for Darnell Wright, and we are actively seeking to arrest this remaining target.
The maximum sentence for the Class A-1 Felony of Operating as a Major Trafficker is 25 years to life in state prison and post release supervision. For the Class E Felony, Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree, for someone without a prior felony conviction, is 1 1/3 -4 years in state prison. The maximum sentence for the Class A-II Felony of Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Second Degree, for someone without a previous felony conviction, is 10 years in state prison and post-release supervision. For the Class B Felonies of Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree and Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance, for someone without a prior felony conviction, is nine years in state prison and post release supervision.
“The large number of pills illegally dispensed from a medical practice in the Village of Goshen demonstrates how the opioid epidemic effects every community in the state without regard to socio-economic status,” said District Attorney Hoovler. “There are few residents who do not know someone whose life has been devastated by narcotics. We intend to keep the pressure on drug dealers during the summer months, both through enforcement actions such as this, and through more intensive investigations into larger drug dealers. The key to the success of these narcotics enforcement actions has been the collective efforts of the police agencies involved. Together with the assistance of local governments, and concerned Orange County residents, we can combat the narcotics epidemic that is killing far too many in our communities.”
Sheriff Carl DuBois stated, “The current epidemic of overdose deaths related to opioid use cries out for operations such as this and collaborative efforts between law enforcement. I thank all our law enforcement partners, and especially those police chiefs and municipalities whose police departments work collaboratively with, and dedicate personnel to, the Orange County Drug Task Force. Without their efforts there would no doubt be an even larger number of overdoses.”
The cases involving oxycodone are being prosecuted by Chief Assistant District Attorney Christopher Borek. The cases involving the trafficking of other narcotics are being prosecuted by Senior Assistant District Attorney Kerry Kolek, and Assistant District Attorneys Alexis Gregory, and Tanja Beemer.
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 of New York’s burden to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.