Orange County District Attorney David M. Hoovler announced that on Thursday December 15, 2016, Earl O. Melvin, A/K/A “Bugs”, was sentenced by Orange County Court Judge Craig Stephen Brown to thirteen years in state prison, and five years of post-release supervision, for the crime of Operating as a Major Trafficker. On November 7, 2016, Melvin had pleaded guilty before Orange County Court Judge Craig Stephen Brown to that crime. At the time of his plea, Melvin admitted being the director of a drug trafficking organization that sold heroin in the City of Newburgh. Melvin was also ordered to pay over $17,000 in restitution and forfeiture as part of the sentence. Prior to District Attorney Hoovler taking office, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office had never charged the crime of Operating as a Major Trafficker.
An Orange County grand jury had charged Melvin with being the director of a controlled substance organization that distributed heroin within the City of Newburgh and surrounding areas from at least June 7, 2015, through June 7, 2016, and that the proceeds of those heroin sales totaled at least $75,000. Prosecutors argued that Melvin not only directed the drug selling organization, but also stored narcotics, sold narcotics, directed others to sell narcotics.
On June 7, 2016, as a result of a ten-month-long narcotics investigation, which included the use of wiretaps and other electronic surveillance, members of the New York State Police Community Narcotics Enforcement Team (“CNET”), in conjunction with the City of Newburgh Police Department and the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, executed multiple search warrants and made over twenty arrests. Law enforcement officials recovered more than 56 grams of unpackaged heroin, over 1,000 individual packages of heroin, 28 grams of cocaine, over $8,000 in U.S. currency, scales, packaging material, cutting agents and a loaded .45 caliber Highpoint pistol. The street value of the narcotics seized is over $18,000.
District Attorney Hoovler thanked the New York State Police CNET and the City of Newburgh Police Department for their efforts in this investigation. District Attorney Hoovler highly commended CNET for their investigation, given the complexity of the case.
District Attorney Hoovler commended Assistant District Attorneys Neal Eriksen and Kerry Kolek who assisted in the investigation of the case and prosecuted all of the defendants charged in the operation.
“Our streets will be safer during the thirteen years that this defendant is in state prison,” said District Attorney Hoovler. “The heroin epidemic continues to cost the lives of far too many members of our community all through Orange County. It is unconscionable that large scale dealers, like this defendant, profit from the misery and death that their drugs cause. This defendant directed a narcotics enterprise that conservatively sold over $75,000 worth of heroin in a single year. Narcotics organizations like the one run by Earl Melvin can only be disrupted through the use of electronic surveillance, used in the context of long-term, multi-agency investigations, such as was successfully employed in “Operation Punch-Out”. My office will continue to use every tool at our disposal, including the use of wiretaps, civil forfeiture actions, and criminal statutes that have never been charged before in Orange County, to combat the illicit narcotics trade and all types of organized criminal activity.”