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Four Major Drug Traffickers Taken Down, 25 Others Arrested During Raids In Area

FBI, DEA and New York State Police executed a series of raids Tuesday that netted 29 arrests.
FBI, DEA and New York State Police executed a series of raids Tuesday that netted 29 arrests. Photo Credit: FBI.gov

In a dramatic movie-style series of raids, a total of 29 people were arrested Tuesday during a drug enforcement action dubbed "Operation Bread, White and Blues."

The bust went down early Tuesday morning as members of the DEA, FBI, the New York State Police, and the Orange County Sheriff's Office, raided several locations, including an Orange County firehouse in the City of Middletown in which one of the main dealers was an acting fire lieutenant, said Trooper Steven Nevel.

Of the 29 arrested, three have been charged with the felony operating as a major trafficker, including the lieutenant, Paul Smith.

According to law enforcement, two separate conspiracies were taken down during the raids. One of which primarily involved members and associates of self-professed “outlaw” motorcycle clubs trafficking cocaine, and another of which involves the sale of narcotic pills which were represented to contain oxycodone, but which contained fentanyl, a highly addictive and frequently lethal narcotic.

Two defendants, Paul Smith, and Robert Dunham are alleged to be members of both conspiracies.

The name of the operation refers to the co-conspirators use of the term “bread” to mean the money they obtained through the sale of narcotics, “white” to represent the cocaine which was sold and “blues” to represent the blue colored pills which were being trafficked.

The arrests and search warrant executed during the raids were as a result of a six-month-long narcotics investigation. Law enforcement officials recovered more than $200,000, 25 handguns, one assault rifle, multiple rifles, 10 vehicles, two motorcycles, over 2.5 pounds of cocaine and 1,300 Fentanyl pills.

Paul Smith, 48, of Deerpark, a paid lieutenant of the City of Middletown Fire Department, has been charged with crimes including operating as a major trafficker, and is alleged to have been a member of both conspiracies.

He is also being charged with attempted criminal possession of a controlled substance, criminal sale of a controlled substance and conspiracy.

Robert Dunham, 46 of Middletown has been charged with crimes including conspiracy and four counts of criminal sale of a controlled substance. He is also alleged to have been a member of both conspiracies.

Marquis Gamble, 34, of Nyack, has been charged with crimes including operating as a major trafficker and is alleged to have been a "profiteer" in the conspiracy to sell cocaine. It is alleged that it was Gamble’s role in the conspiracy to provide cocaine to other members of the conspiracy. He is also being charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance and conspiracy.

John Beltempo, 49, of New Windsor, who previously worked for the Village of Spring Valley Police Department, the Orange County Sheriff’s office and the Town of Wallkill Police Department was charged with conspiracy and is alleged to have participated in the conspiracy to sell cocaine.

On December 31, 2018, Kenneth Nunez, 39, of Spring Valley, was arrested and charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance. A subsequent felony complaint charges him with conspiracy and it alleges that this cocaine had been given to him by Marquis Gamble to deliver to Paul Smith.

Garry Michel, 48, of the Town of Wallkill, has been charged with crimes including operating as a major trafficker and is alleged to have been a “profiteer” in the conspiracy to sell narcotic pills, which were marketed to buyers as containing oxycodone, but which contained fentanyl. The pills were colored, stamped, and marked to appear to be oxycodone pills. He was additionally charged with conspiracy.

The other arrested and charged with conspiracy in connection with the conspiracy to possess and sell cocaine include:

  • Joel Gamble, 44, Cuddebackville
  • Samuel Marino, 30, Campbell Hall
  • Arthur Mays, 30, Middletown
  • George Thomas, 61, Bloomingburg
  • David Lebel, 55 Middletown

Those arrested and charged with conspiracy to possess and sell pills containing narcotics include:

  • Jennifer Peterson, 46, Chester
  • Vincenz Ferrante, 35, New Windsor
  • Shawn Daniels, 52, Monroe
  • Salvatore Distefano, 36, Westtown
  • Melissa Delrosso, 35, Middletown
  • Raymond Chong, 49, Middletown
  • Tara Schoonmaker, 48, Wurstboro
  • Crystal Crozier, 36, Middletown
  • Donald Johnston, 46, Middletown
  • Anthony Fields, 44, Middletown
  • Desmon Pierson, 36, Middletown
  • Dominick Guardino, 55, Middletown

Additionally, Sunshine Wall, age 40, of Cuddebackville, was charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance and Nicholas Ciccone, 47, of Port Jervis was charged with criminal impersonation and being a parole absconder.

The New York State Police and the Orange County District Attorney’s Office are requesting the public’s assistance in locating the following individuals;

  • Charles Kavanaugh, 31, Newburgh
  • Gary Caldwell, 33, Wappingers
  • Justin Antonia, 27, Slate Hill
  • Andrew Bendig, 23, Middletown

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