An undercover police probe of illicit drug sales throughout Rockland County has led to charges against 37 people, including 35 individuals who officials say have extensive prior criminal histories for drug selling, robbery, assault, burglary, parole violation, weapons possession and resisting arrest.
“These arrests should serve as a warning to both drug dealers and violent criminals alike that Rockland County law enforcement, in spite of serious economic difficulties, will continue to aggressively track down those individuals who traffic in illegal and prescription drugs and seek to put them in prison for many years,” District Attorney Thomas Zugibe said today.
Zugibe said the charges stem from the sale of Oxycodone, Ecstasy, Percocet and other highly-addictive pharmaceuticals, as well as heroin and cocaine and crack cocaine throughout Rockland County on nearly 50 separate occasions over the past several months to undercover police officers. Those charged in the probe range in age from 18 to 67.
The open-air drug transactions have led to more than 120 counts of criminal sale and criminal possession of controlled substances. The investigation focused on numerous locations, including downtown areas in the villages of Suffern, Nyack and Haverstraw. Illegal activities also took place in the Palisades Center mall in West Nyack and at the Stony Point Motel on Route 9W in Stony Point.
Zugibe said three mobile home parks were also targeted for open-air drug transactions, including the Parkway Trailer Park, the Quaker Road Trailer Park and the Mazza Leone Trailer Park, all in the Town of Haverstraw.
Among those arrested was Emmanuel Quezada, 28, of 70 Sharp St., Apartment #2, Haverstraw, described by police as a repeat violent felon and major source of illegal narcotics for Rockland County. Zugibe said Quezada is charged with selling cocaine to undercover officers on numerous occasions in 2012.
Zugibe said Quezada's criminal record includes prior arrests for criminal sale and criminal possession of controlled substances, assault, robbery, sodomy, parole violations, bail jumping and child endangerment.
Eight of those arrested during the probe are also purported street gang members based in Haverstraw and Stony Point.
“These arrests were spearheaded by the police officers assigned to the Rockland County Drug Task Force," Rockland County Drug Task Force Director Christopher Goldrick said. "This has been a collaborative and coordinated response to open-air drug dealing complainants by our local municipalities. The Drug Task Force, along with the Street Crime Units, Detective Bureaus and Uniform Patrol Officers will continue to dismantle open-air drug dealers and gang members that fuel all other crimes that deteriorate our communities.”
Through traditional investigative means such as physical surveillance and search warrants, coupled with court-authorized electronic surveillance, Zugibe said investigators developed information that led detectives to areas known for drug selling. In addition to the arrests, officers executed court-authorized search warrants and recovered various amounts of prescription pills, cocaine, heroin and drug paraphernalia.
Zugibe said 37 individuals have been indicted and 10 have active warrants that have been forwarded to the United States Marshalls Services and the Rockland County Sheriff’s Department.
The investigation continues into the reach and scope of illicit drug trafficking in Rockland County and further arrests will be made, Zugibe said.
Those cited in the investigation are variously charged with numerous counts of Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree, a class “B” Felony and Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Third Degree, a class “B” Felony, each punishable by up to nine years in prison.