Fire Lieutenant, Ex-Police Officer Among 29 Arrested In Drug Ring Crackdown Involving Biker Gangs In Rockland, Orange Counties

MIDDLETOWN, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – A veteran first responder is charged with peddling deadly drugs.

He’s one of 29 people arrested on drug and conspiracy charges in early morning raids Tuesday, New York State Police said.

Investigators say a suburban firehouse was at the center of the illegal activity.

The raids were part of “Operation Bread, White and Blues,” and came as a result of an investigation into four people that got started last August. Authorities targeted 15 different locations in the 4 a.m. raids, nine of which required tactical teams to participate.

The connections in the motorcycle clubs that were charged with drug dealing and conspiracy
Burnt Pistons MC and the Ching-a-Lings MC were connected to the conspiracy and members were charged.

A home to lifesaving first responders allegedly became the center of a drug operation that peddled deadly Fentanyl.

“The unsuspecting purchasers could do one pill and die. It’s that dangerous,” said Capt. Brian Shortall of the New York State Police.

The Fentanyl pills, known on the street as “blueberries,” were falsely sold as painkillers, CBS2’s Tony Aiello reported. Agents recovered more than $200,000, 25 handguns, an assault rifle and other rifles, 2.5 pounds of cocaine, 1,300 Fentanyl pills, ten vehicles and two motorcycles in the raids.

They say nearly 250 law enforcement personnel participated in the raids and investigation, including 193 state police, 30 FBI agents and 20 DEA agents.

Paul Smith, 48, who works as a lieutenant in the City of Middletown Fire Department faces charges of operating as a major trafficker, conspiracy and possessing and selling controlled substances.

John Beltempo, a former police officer in Rockland County, is among those arrested.

Smith is the accused ringleader, accused of holding illicit meetings and selling from the firehouse.

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“Yes, it is [disappointing]… Things happen. It’s a shame,” said Charlie Greenhouse of Sullivan County.

The Middletown mayor has known Smith for about 30 years. He says Smith started to change about two years ago when he joined a motorcycle club. Investigators say two biker clubs were involved in distributing the durgs, and Lt. Smith had connections with both.

“It’s very disturbing that a man dedicated to protecting and serving and saving lives would be at the epicenter of destroying lives and families,” said Middletown Mayor John DeStefano.

An apartment in Nyack was one of the locations raided. It was home to Marquis Gamble, one of the alleged drug suppliers.

“He came here with a pickup truck. Couple of months later, he’s driving a Mercedes,” said neighbor Sam Hill.

Officials say they will review procedures at the firehouse, stung by Smith’s alleged willingness to corrup it with drug dealing.

More: National President of the Gypsy Jokers MC indicted on racketeering charges.

More: Police seize more than 15K from a Hells Angels member.

More: Kinfolk MC VP describes why he shot Bandidos Prez to death.

The state police says the operation’s name “Bread, White And Blues” referred to the money, cocaine and blue Fentanyl pills involved.

District Attorney David Hoovler said Fentanyl is the leading cause of deaths in Orange County.

It’s not known if this ring sold any drugs that took lives.

Source: CBS New York

05 February 2019
New York State Police announce arrests in Cocaine and narcotic pills distribution conspiracy cases

 NEW YORK STATE POLICE Major Pierce V. Gallagher
 Troop F Commander 

PRESS RELEASE

The New York State Police announced on Tuesday, February 5, 2019, that twenty-nine defendants have been charged in an enforcement action dubbed “Operation Bread, White and Blues”.  Three defendants have been charged with the Class A-I felony of Operating as a Major Trafficker, including a paid Lieutenant of the City of Middletown Fire Department. Felony complaints filed in conjunction with the enforcement action outline 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. Two defendants, Paul Smith and Robert Dunham, are alleged to be members of both conspiracies.   The name of the operation refers 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 were arrested in a series of early morning raids and search warrant executions which 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, 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.

Paul Smith, 48, of Deerpark, a paid Lieutenant of the City of Middletown Fire Department, has been charged with crimes including Operating as a Major Trafficker. and is alleged to have been a member of both conspiracies. Search warrants were executed at the City of Middletown Fire Department. He is also being charged with Attempted Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance First Degree; Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance Second Degree; and Conspiracy Second Degree.

Robert Dunham, 46 of Middletown has been charged with crimes including Conspiracy Second Degree and Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance Second Degree, 4 counts, and is alleged to have been a member of both conspiracies.

Marquis Gamble, 34, of Nyack, has been charged with crimes including Operating as Major Trafficker, and is alleged to have been a “profiteer” in the conspiracy to sell cocaine. It is alleged that it was Gamble’s role in the conspiracy to provide cocaine to other members of the conspiracy. He is also being charged with Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance First Degree; and Conspiracy Second Degree.

John Beltempo, 49, of New Windsor, who previously worked for the Village of Spring Valley Police Department, the Orange County Sheriff’s office and the Town of Wallkill Police Department was charged with Conspiracy Second Degree and is alleged to have participated in the conspiracy to sell cocaine. 

On December 31, 2018, Kenneth Nunez, 39, of Spring Valley, was arrested and charged with Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance First Degree on December 31, 2018. A subsequent felony complaint charges him with Conspiracy Second Degree and it alleges that this cocaine had been given to him by Marquis Gamble to deliver to Paul Smith. 

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Garry Michel, 48, of the Town of Wallkill, has been charged with crimes including Operating as a Major Trafficker, and is alleged to have been a “profiteer” in the conspiracy to sell narcotic pills, which were marketed to buyers as containing oxycodone, but which contained fentanyl.  The pills were colored, stamped, and marked to appear to be oxycodone pills. He was additionally charged with Conspiracy Second Degree.

Those being charged with Conspiracy Second Degree in this enforcement action in connection with the conspiracyto possess and sell cocaine include: 

NameAgeResidencePrior 
Felony
JOEL GAMBLE44Cuddebackville, NYYes
SAMUEL MARINO30Campbell Hall, NYNo
ARTHUR MAYS30Middletown, NYNo
GEORGE THOMAS61Bloomingburg, NYNo
DAVID LEBEL55Middletown, NYNo

Those charged in this enforcement action in connection with the conspiracy to possess and sell pills containing narcotics include:

NameAgeResidencePrior Felony
JENNIFER PETERSON46Chester, NYNo
VINCENZA FERRANTE35New Windsor, NYNo
SHAWN DANIELS52Monroe, NYNo
SALVATORE DISTEFANO36Westtown, NYNo
MELISSA DELROSSO35Middletown, NYNo
RAYMOND CHONG49Middletown, NYNo
TARA SCHOONMAKER48Wurtsboro, NYNo
CRYSTAL CROZIER36Middletown, NYNo
DONALD JOHNSTON46Middletown, NYNo
ANTHONY FIELDS44Middletown, NYYes
DESMON PIERSON36Middletown, NYNo
DOMINICK GUARDINO55Middletown, NYNo

Additionally, Sunshine Wall, age 40, of Cuddebackville, NY was charged with Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance Seventh Degree and Nicholas V. Ciccone, age 47, of Port Jervis was charged with Criminal Impersonation and Parole Absconder.

The New York State Police and the Orange County District Attorney’s Office are requesting the public’s assistance in locating the following individuals;

CHARLES KAVANAUGH  Age 31             Newburgh, NY
GARY CALDWELL              Age 33            Wappingers, NY
JUSTIN ANTONA                 Age 27            Slate Hill, NY
ANDREW BENDIG              Age 23            Middletown, NY

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.

Source: New York State Police

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