District Attorney David Hoovler and Orange County Sheriff Carl DuBois Announce Countywide Narcotics Enforcement Action

June 3, 2021

District Attorney David Hoovler and Orange County Sheriff Carl DuBois Announce Countywide Narcotics Enforcement Action

Seventeen Defendants Charged with Trafficking Drugs, Including Cocaine,
Heroin, Fentanyl, and Prescription Medications

Defendant Charged After Selling Controlled Substances to Woman Who Subsequently Dies as the Result of a Narcotics Overdose

Goshen, NY – Orange County District Attorney David M. Hoovler and Orange County Sheriff Carl DuBois announced on June 3, 2021, that seventeen defendants have been charged with crimes pertaining to the trafficking of cocaine, heroin, fentanyl, and prescription medications throughout Orange County. The indictments are part of an enforcement action conducted by the Orange County Drug Task Force (OCDTF), who were assisted by the Village of Monroe Police Department, the City of Middletown Police Department, and the City of Newburgh Police Department.

The enforcement action primarily used undercover police officers to purchase narcotics and prescription medications. The countywide enforcement action, one of many since District Attorney Hoovler took office, was designed to help clean up neighborhoods in cities within Orange County, by targeting individuals trafficking narcotics. Eleven of the defendants were arrested and charged with crimes including Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree and Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree, for selling narcotics, including cocaine, heroin, and fentanyl to undercover police officers. All those defendants were released without bail being due to the recent bail reform statutes. One defendant was arrested and charged with Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Fifth Degree for selling the prescription medication Adderall to an undercover police officer. That defendant was similarly released without bail being set, because of the new statutes.

The Orange County District Attorney’s Office and OCDTF are seeking the public’s assistance in locating five defendants, who are wanted on arrest warrants pertaining to charges of Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree and Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree. Two defendants, Marlon Anderson and Rashon Williams, have arrest warrants issued out of County Court.

Many of the drug purchases, and many of the arrests, were performed by the OCDTF. The OCDTF, 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 OCDTF 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 OCDTF. The OCDTF assists other agencies in conducting narcotics investigations, including undercover investigations, throughout the County. Some of the agencies that assisted in the enforcement action included the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, the City of Newburgh Police Department, the Town of Newburgh Police Department, the Town of Montgomery Police Department, the Town of New Windsor Police Department, the Town of Wallkill Police Department, the Town of Warwick Police Department, the Village of Monroe Police Department, the Village of Walden Police Department, the U.S. Marshalls Fugitive Task Force, and the Hudson Valley Crime Analysis Center.

In 2019, legislation was enacted that severely limits the courts’ ability to set bail for offenses involving narcotics sales. In previous narcotics sweeps in Orange County some bail was set by the court for almost all defendants charged with selling narcotics. Although the District Attorney’s Office has requested bail in every bail-eligible case, to date bail has not been set on any of the defendants that have been arrested in connection with the enforcement action.

On April 10, 2021, a suspected fatal overdose occurred in the Village of Monroe. Responding police officers from the Village of Monroe Police Department found two unconscious individuals, a male and a female, and administered Narcan. The Narcan administered by those first responders was able to revive the male patient, however, proved unsuccessful on the female patient. The Village of Monroe Police Department notified the Orange County District Attorney’s Office and contacted the OCDTF for assistance. A few days later the female patient apparently succumbed to the effects of the overdose and was determined to have no brain activity by medical staff. An autopsy was performed by the Orange County Medical Examiner’s Office. Subsequent investigation revealed that the narcotics that were consumed by the male and female had been purchased in the City of Newburgh.

Rashon Williams, 26, of Newburgh, is wanted on arrest warrants charging him with three counts of Criminal Sale of Controlled Substance in the Third Degree and Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree. Felony complaints, filed in the City of Newburgh Court allege that on April 9, 2021, Williams sold narcotics to the Village of Monroe man that had the Narcan administered to him, and that he shared those narcotics with the woman who subsequently died. Williams is also charged in a felony complaint with a subsequent sale of cocaine and fentanyl on April 16, 2021. An arrest warrant has also been issued for Williams out of County Court in connection with another sale of fentanyl to an OCDTF undercover on April 19, 2021. The District Attorney’s Office is seeking the public’s assistance in the apprehension of Rashon Williams, whose street-name is “Marvelous.” Anyone having information should contact local law enforcement.

Those charged in the enforcement action include the following:

Defendant
Location of Crime
Substance
Age
Residence
Police Agency

Hakeen Frith
City of Middletown
Cocaine
29
Port Jervis
Drug Task Force
Stephen Johnson
City of Middletown
Cocaine
51
Liberty
Drug Task Force
Duane Spearman*
City of Newburgh
Cocaine
53
Newburgh
Drug Task Force
Shatiro Lawrence*
City of Newburgh
Cocaine
33
Newburgh
Drug Task Force
Tameka Hannah
City of Newburgh
Cocaine
44
Newburgh
Drug Task Force
Tyler Wilson
City of Newburgh
Cocaine
23
Newburgh
Drug Task Force
Louis Towles
City of Newburgh
Heroin
20
Newburgh
Drug Task Force
Michael Elwyn
Town of Wallkill
Cocaine
43
Montgomery
Drug Task Force
Robert Gayle
City of Newburgh
Fentanyl
44
New York City
Drug Task Force
Terrance Norman
City of Newburgh
Fentanyl
50
Newburgh
Drug Task Force
Eric Hall
City of Newburgh
Fentanyl
50

Drug Task Force

The following defendant is currently charged with the Class D felonies of Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Fifth Degree and Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Fifth Degree:

Defendant
Location of Crime
Substance
Age
Residence
Police Agency
Joan Brennan
City of Middletown
Adderall
57
Middletown
Drug Task Force

The District Attorney’s Office is seeking the public’s assistance in the apprehension of the following individuals for whom arrest warrants were obtained:

Defendant
Location of Crime
Substance
Age
Residence
Police Agency
Merissa Hill
City of Middletown
Cocaine
28
Newburgh
Drug Task Force
Marlon Anderson
City of Middletown
Cocaine
32
Middletown
Drug Task Force
Pierris Morgan*
City of Newburgh
Cocaine
28
Middletown
Drug Task Force
Rashon Williams
City of Newburgh
Fentanyl
26
Newburgh
Drug Task Force
Charles McDonald*
City of Newburgh
Fentanyl
39
Springfield Gardens
Drug Task Force

The maximum sentence for the Class B felonies of Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree and Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree, for someone without a prior felony conviction, is nine years in prison and post-release supervision. The maximum sentence for the Class B felonies of Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree and Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree, for someone with a prior felony conviction in the past ten years is twelve years in prison and post-release supervision. The maximum sentence for the Class D felonies of Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Fifth Degree and Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Fifth Degree, for someone without a prior felony conviction, is two and one-half years in prison and post-release supervision. The maximum sentence for the Class D felonies of Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Fifth Degree and Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Fifth Degree, for someone with a prior felony conviction in the past ten years, is four years in prison and post-release supervision. (*Indicates a defendant who has a prior felony conviction within the past ten years who is eligible for an enhanced sentence.)

“The death of this young woman is a stark reminder that we must respond to the spike in fatal overdoses in Orange County, and throughout New York State,” said District Attorney Hoovler. “Although bail may now be set in connection with any crime that results in a death, judges should have the ability to use their discretion in setting bail on those who sell narcotics, particularly potentially lethal ones such as fentanyl and heroin. The increase in fatal overdoses shows just how necessary these enforcement actions are. I commend the law enforcement agencies that participated in this enforcement action and I am confident that law enforcement, local governments, treatment providers, and concerned Orange County residents will ultimately prevail in combating the narcotics epidemic that is killing far too many in our communities.”

Sheriff Carl DuBois stated: “As these cases show, the opioid epidemic continues to impact our communities. The Orange County Sheriff’s Office will continue to commit any and all resources to combat this terrible epidemic and look for new ways to help those affected by addiction.”

Chief Darwin M. Guzman, the Village of Monroe Police Department stated: “I would like to thank the OCDTF and Orange County Sheriff’s Office investigators, as well as our detectives, for their hard work and dedication during this investigation. I believe that this is a huge step moving forward to combat the crime of heroin and fentanyl sales in Orange County. We look forward to continuing our collaborative efforts with these agencies to keep our streets safer.”

The cases are being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Neal Eriksen, Tanja Beemer, Alexis Gregory, Nicholas Mangold, and Eric Valentin.

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.

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