Orange County District Attorney David M. Hoovler announced that on Tuesday, November 22, 2016, Anthony J. Spagnola, 56, of Cuddebackville, was sentenced to ten years in state prison and five years postrelease supervision in connection with his plea of guilty to the Class A felony of Operating as a Major Trafficker.
On September 30, 2016 Spagnola had pleaded guilty before Orange County Court Judge Robert H. Freehill. At the time of his plea Spagnola admitted that he was the director of a controlled substance organization that distributed cocaine throughout Orange County and surrounding areas, and that he had at least four people working under him, who distributed the cocaine for him throughout the area. The proceeds collected from those cocaine sales were in excess of $75,000 in a one-year period.
On April 28, 2016, members of the New York State Police Special Investigations Unit, in conjunction with the Orange County District Attorney’s Office and the Sussex County, New Jersey, Prosecutor’s Office, executed multiple search warrants and made over twenty arrests throughout Orange County, surrounding counties in New York, and Sussex County, as a result of a seven-month-long narcotics investigation. Law enforcement officials recovered more than two kilograms of cocaine, most of which they seized in Sussex County. The investigation included the use of electronic surveillance, including wiretaps. In addition to uncovering crimes related to narcotics distribution, the “Operation Chopper” investigation also revealed crimes committed by “outlaw motorcycle clubs.”
District Attorney Hoovler thanked the New York State Police Special Investigations Unit and the Sussex County, New Jersey, Prosecutor’s Office 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.
District Attorney Hoovler highly commended Assistant District Attorney Kerry Kolek, who assisted in the investigation of the case and handled the prosecution all of the defendants charged in the operation.
The guilty pleas to Operating as a Major Trafficker in “Operation Chopper” and the recent Newburgh “Operation Punchout” narcotics enforcement action, marked the first times the Orange County District Attorney’s office had charged anyone with that crime. The crime, passed by the New York State Legislature in 2009, is referred to as the “Drug Kingpin Statute” and is reserved for high-level drug dealers. One of the elements of the crime is that the offender possesses over $75,000 worth of narcotics with intent to sell them in a one-year time period.
“Hopefully the decade that this defendant will serve in state prison will deter others who are tempted to realize fast money by selling narcotics,” said District Attorney Hoovler. “Narcotics are destroying the fabric of our society and killing our residents and must be fought at every level. It is only through coordinated law enforcement actions such as ‘Operation Chopper’ 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. My office will continue to use every tool at our disposal, including the use of wiretaps, civil forfeiture actions, and criminal statutes which have never been charged before in Orange County, to go after high-level narcotics dealers.”