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Posted on: June 19, 2019

District Attorney Hoovler Announces Five Additional Guilty Pleas in Cocaine and Narcotic Pills case

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District Attorney Hoovler Announces Five 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 that on Wednesday, June 19, 2019, five more defendants pleaded guilty before Orange County Court Judge Craig Stephen Brown, to various felony charges in connection with the enforcement action dubbed “Operation Bread, White and Blues.” Marquis Gamble, 35, of Nyack, pleaded guilty to Attempted Operating as a Major Trafficker, Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Second Degree and, Conspiracy in the Second Degree. Vincenza Ferrante, 36, of New Windsor, pleaded guilty to Conspiracy in the Second Degree.  Anthony Fields, 44, of Wallkill, pleaded guilty to Attempted Conspiracy in the Second Degree and Attempted Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree.  George Thomas, 62, of Bloomingburg, pleaded guilty to Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree and Criminal Possession of a Firearm.  Gary Caldwell, 33, of Wappingers Falls, pleaded guilty to Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree.

Indictments arising from that enforcement action outlined two separate conspiracies, one of which primarily involved members and associates of self-professed “outlaw” motorcycle clubs trafficking cocaine, and another of which involved the sale of narcotic pills which the conspirators 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 that 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 that occurred on Tuesday, February 5, 2019.

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 a result of a six-month-long narcotics investigation. Law enforcement officials recovered more than $200,000, 25 handguns, one assault rifle, multiple other rifles, ten vehicles, two motorcycles, over 2.5 pounds of cocaine, and 1,300 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.

At the time that Gamble pleaded guilty, he admitted that he had given 800 grams of cocaine to another co-conspirator, so that it could be delivered from Rockland County to Orange County, where it was to be sold. Those narcotics had a street value of $80,000.  Gamble also admitted being a profiteer who was involved in a conspiracy to regularly deliver large amounts of cocaine to Orange County. Pursuant to the plea agreement placed on the record at the time Gamble pleaded guilty, the District Attorney’s Office will recommend that he be sentenced to two concurrent ten-year prison sentences for Attempted Operating as a Major Trafficker and Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Second Degree, when he is sentenced on October 10, 2019.  The District Attorney will also recommend that he be sentenced to seven and one-half to fifteen years in prison for Conspiracy in the Second Degree, to run concurrently with the other two sentences.

At the time that Ferrante pleaded guilty, she admitted being engaged in a conspiracy to possess and sell narcotics pills. The District Attorney’s Office placed on the record that they will be recommending that she be sentenced to three to nine years in state prison when she is sentenced on August 29, 2019.

During his plea allocution Fields admitted to conspiring to possess and sell the narcotic pills and to illegally possessing a .380 caliber pistol. The District Attorney’s Office placed on the record that they will be recommending that he be sentenced to three to six years in state prison for the conspiracy charge and a concurrent six years in prison for the weapons charge when he is sentenced on October 10, 2019.

When George Thomas, a former Village of Walden police officer, pleaded guilty he admitted to conspiring to possess and sell cocaine and illegally possessing a sawed-off shotgun.  The District Attorney’s Office will be recommending that he be sentenced to two consecutive one-year sentences on his charges, for a total of two years, when he sentenced on August 1, 2019.

Pursuant to a plea agreement placed on the record, the District Attorney’s Office will recommend that Gary Caldwell, who admitted to being a member of the conspiracy to sell narcotics pills, be sentenced to six months in jail and five years’ probation when he is sentenced on October 10, 2019.

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. 

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

“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.  “Plea offers and sentencing recommendations must take into account each individual defendant’s prior history and relative culpability in the crime. It is only through enforcement actions such as ‘Operation Bread, White and Blues’ 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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