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Hudson Valley Fire Department Lieutenant Admits To Being Major Drug Trafficker

Paul Smith
Paul Smith Photo Credit: New York State Police

A former Hudson Valley fire lieutenant has been sentenced to prison after pleading guilty to operating as a major drug trafficker.

Orange County resident Paul Smith, age 52, of Deerpark, was sentenced to 10 to 25 years on Wednesday, Nov. 16, said Orange County District Attorney David Hoovler.

Smith, a paid lieutenant with the city of Middletown Fire Department at the time of his arrest, was also sentenced to five years post-release supervision, the DA's Office said.

The former firefighter was nabbed during an undercover investigation dubbed “Operation Bread, White, and Blues," in February 2019. He pled guilty in April 2019 and agreed to forfeit $315,000 that he made from selling cocaine, as well as a 2014 Dodge Ram pick-up truck, a 2008 Corvette, and a 2012 Harley Davidson motorcycle that he used to transport narcotics, the DA's Office said.

The suspects involved in the drug trafficking operation had two separate groups, one of which primarily involved members and associates of self-professed “outlaw” motorcycle clubs trafficking cocaine, and another of which involved the sale of narcotic pills which were represented to contain oxycodone, but which contained fentanyl, a highly addictive and frequently lethal narcotic, court records show.

The name of the operation referred to the co-conspirator's use of the term “bread” to mean the money they obtained through the sale of narcotics, “white” to represent the cocaine that was sold, and “blues” to represent the blue-colored pills which were being trafficked, the DA's Office said.

Most of the defendants in the action were arrested in a series of early morning raids and search warrant executions, Hoovler added.

The groups were taken down during raids in Orange and Rockland counties in February 2019, by members of the state police and the FBI, officials said.

The arrests and search warrant executions were a result of a six-month-long narcotics investigation. Law enforcement officials recovered more than $500,000, 25 handguns, one assault rifle, multiple rifles, 10 vehicles, two motorcycles, over 2.5 pounds of cocaine, and 1,300 fentanyl pills, the DA's Office said.

The state police were assisted by the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, the DEA, and the FBI.

“As a firefighter and first responder, Paul Smith knows better than most the dangers involved in ingesting the narcotics that he, and those he admitted were his co-conspirators, were selling,” said Hoovler. “It is unconscionable that someone who was paid to help others would be peddling these substances."

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