One Defendant Sentenced to 9 to 20 Years on Drug Conspiracy Charge
“Operation Family Ties” Targeted Major Narcotics Distributors
Orange County District Attorney David M. Hoovler announced that on Tuesday September 12, 19, 2017, Lamont Williams, Sr., 43, Mark Robinson, 36, and Steven Reed, 25, all of Newburgh, were each sentenced by Orange County Court Judge Robert H. Freehill to state prison for committing the Class B felony of Conspiracy in the Second Degree. Williams, Robinson, and Reed had been charged in connection the “Operation Family Ties” narcotics conspiracy investigation. Williams, who had pleaded guilty on July 25, 2017, was alleged to have been one of the major leaders of the conspiracy. Williams was sentenced to nine to twenty years in state prison for the charge of Conspiracy in the Second Degree, and nine years in state prison, plus three years post-release supervision, for the crime of Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree. Robinson, who had pleaded guilty to the charge of Conspiracy in the Second Degree on June 19, 2017, was sentenced to four and one-half to thirteen and one-half years in state prison. Reed, who had pleaded guilty to the charge of Conspiracy in the Second Degree on June 19, 2017, was sentenced to two to six years in state prison.
In May, 2017, an Orange County grand jury had charged 35 defendants with felonies related to conspiring to sell cocaine and heroin, largely in the Newburgh area. The grand jury issued two indictments that alleged the existence of two separate conspiracies to distribute narcotics. The indictments charge Conspiracy in the Second Degree, Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the First Degree, and Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Second Degree, as well as other charges.
On March 13, 2017, the New York State Police, the City of Newburgh Police Department, and the Orange County District Attorney’s Office executed sixteen search warrants and arrested over thirty individuals on felony charges as part of a nine-month narcotics investigation, dubbed “Operation Family Ties.” The United States Drug Enforcement Administration, the Town of New Windsor Police, the Town of Newburgh Police, the City of Port Jervis Police, and the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance also aided in the execution of the warrants.
The investigation targeted the distribution of heroin, cocaine, PCP, and marijuana in the City of Newburgh and several surrounding towns in Orange County. The investigation began in June, 2016, when the City of Newburgh Police Department and the New York State Police received information about illegal narcotics sales in the area of 170 Carson Avenue in the City of Newburgh.
A number of other defendants have already pled guilty and been sentenced in connection with the enforcement action. In addition to the criminal charges, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office has begun a civil forfeiture proceeding against many of the defendants, in order to seize from them the profits that they have made by illegally selling narcotics. The suit seeks over $3,000,000 in illegally-obtained profits.
District Attorney Hoovler thanked the New York State Police Community Narcotics Enforcement Team, the City of Newburgh Police Department, the United States Drug Enforcement Administration, the Town of New Windsor Police, the Town of Newburgh Police, the City of Port Jervis Police, and the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance Criminal Investigations Division 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 prosecuting all of the defendants charged in the operation.
“My office will continue to partner with other law enforcement agencies and use every lawful means available, including wiretaps and civil forfeiture, to fight the organized drug conspiracies that are helping to fuel the opioid epidemic,” said District Attorney Hoovler. “Those who think they can make enormous profits off the suffering of people who are addicted to narcotics, and insulate themselves from criminal liability by having others deal narcotics for them are sadly mistaken. ‘Operation Family Ties’ represents the success that law enforcement can have through coordinated efforts to attack high-level drug dealers and offenders who shield themselves from prosecution by dealing drugs through lower-level conspirators. Education and treatment are important strategies to keep people away from drugs, but it is becoming increasingly clear that vigorous law enforcement is necessary to dry up the supply of illegal drugs.”
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.