Five people, including a major cocaine supplier, pleaded guilty to various felony charges for their part in a large narcotics operation that supplied drugs throughout the area.
The five, who were members of a wide-ranging group that supplied drugs in Rockland and Orange counties included firefighters, a former police officer, and self-styled outlaw motorcycle clubs. They were taken down during a multi-agency operation dubbed "Operation Bread, White, and Blues," on Feb. 5.
When the raids went down, community members and fire departments were shocked when former Middletown fire Lt. Paul Smith, 49, of Port Jervis, and former Mechanicstown volunteer firefighter Robert Dunham, 46, of Middletown, were arrested.
One of the main figures pleading included Marquis Gamble, 35, of Nyack, who pleaded guilty to attempted operating as a major trafficker, conspiracy and criminal sale of a controlled substance, all felonies, said the Orange County District Attorney's Office.
Other pleading included:
- Vincenza Ferrante, 36, of New Windsor, pleaded guilty to conspiracy.
- Anthony Fields, 44, of Wallkill, pleaded guilty to attempted conspiracy and attempted criminal possession of a weapon — a .380-caliber pistol.
- George Thomas, 62, of Bloomingburg, a former Walden police officer, pleaded guilty to conspiracy and criminal possession of a weapon.
- Gary Caldwell, 33, of Wappingers Falls, pleaded guilty to conspiracy.
During the raid, at various locations throughout the counties, law enforcement officials recovered more than $200,000, 25 handguns, one assault rifle, multiple other rifles, 10 vehicles, two motorcycles, over 2.5 pounds of cocaine, and 1,300 Fentanyl pills. two sentences.
“Narcotics trafficking is destroying the fabric of our society, killing our residents, and must be fought at every level,” said District Attorney David M. Hoovler. “Plea offers and sentencing recommendations must take into account each individual defendant’s prior history and relative culpability in the crime. It is only through enforcement actions such as ‘Operation Bread, White, and Blues’ 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.”
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