News Release
October 31, 2008
Erin Mulvey
Public Information Officer
212 337-2906

Major Cocaine Distribution Organization Wiped Out in Syracuse, New York

OCT 31 -- (SYRACUSE, NY) United States Drug Enforcement Administration Special Agent in Charge of the New York Field Division John P. Gilbride and Andrew T. Baxter, Acting United States Attorney for the Northern District of New York announced the arrest of fifteen individuals in connection with a major cocaine and crack cocaine distribution organization located in Utica, New York, that trafficked narcotics throughout the Mohawk Valley.  Those arrested include the following:

            WHITNEY FOWLER, a/k/a Seis, Fattie, Fatboy , age 28, Utica, New York;
            ANDREW WYMES, a/k/a Drip , age 28, Utica, New York;  
            MICHAEL AUSTIN, a/k/a Sosa , age 29, Utica, New York;
            HAROLD CARR, a/k/a Henny , age 29, Utica, New York;
            JERMAINE GARY, a/k/a Half , age 29, Utica, New York;
            ROCKY ROCK , age 37, Utica, New York;
            KASHIF SHEPHARD , age 22, Utica, New York;
            HUGH HILL, a/k/a Mercy , age 34, Utica, New York;
            GINO PLACANICA, age 32, Utica, New York;
            MARK BAKER, a/k/a Bake, Baker , age 31, Utica, New York;
            MICHAEL WILLIAMS, age 36, Utica, New York;
            CHRISTOPHER LAGASSE, a/k/a Emril , age 26, Rome, New York;
            JAYSON JULIO, a/k/a Jayju, age 31, Utica, New York;
            TIMOTHY SWEEZEY, age 28, Utica, New York; and
            MARVIN LOPEZ, age 24, Utica, New York.

All of these individuals are charged by Complaint in U.S. District Court with conspiring to possess with intent to distribute more than 500 grams of cocaine and more than 50 grams of crack cocaine.  If convicted, they each face a mandatory minimum ten year term of imprisonment up to a maximum of life imprisonment, up to a $4 million fine, and at least five years of supervised release following any period of incarceration. 

Four others charged in this conspiracy remain fugitives at this time.  They include ANTHONY BONANZA, a/k/a White Boy Tone,age 22, CHRISTINE CARR, a/k/a Ghetto, age 25, ORMUZD MORALES, a/k/a Moose, age 36, and PABLO GOICO, age 24, all of Utica.  Anyone with knowledge of their whereabouts is asked to call the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“FBI”) in Utica at 732-2157.      

These prosecutions resulted from an investigation undertaken by the Drug Enforcement Administration (“DEA”), the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the New York State Police, Special Investigations Unit and the Oneida County Drug Task Force, which is comprised of agents from the Utica Police Department, the Oneida County Sheriff's Department, the Rome Police Department, and the New Hartford Police Department.  The U.S. Marshal’s Service assisted in the arrests today.

John P. Gilbride, Special Agent in Charge for DEA’s New York Field Division, noted that “this concerted effort by federal, state and local law enforcement demonstrates our commitment to rid our communities of drugs and the perils associated with drug trafficking.  We will continue our efforts to keep cocaine and all illicit narcotics off the streets and identify those responsible for distribution of them.”

John F. Pikus, Special Agent in Charge, Albany Division of FBI stated “the FBI remains committed to combating drug crimes in the Utica area and will continue to work with our federal, state and local partners, to accomplish this goal.” 

To date, the following items have been recovered during this investigation: approximately $23,000 in U.S. currency; more than half a kilogram of cocaine; approximately 125 grams of crack cocaine; four handguns; and three long-barreled firearms.  Agents have also seized the following nine vehicles, all of which are alleged to have been used to facilitate the organization’s drug trafficking activities: (1) 2004 Acura TL; (2) 2005 Mitsubishi Endeavor; (3) 2003 Honda Accord; (4) 2004 Honda Accord; (5) 2002 Chevy Trail Blazer; (6) 2005 Jeep Cherokee; (7) 2002 Ford Explorer; (8) 2004 Mercedes-Benz; and (9) 2005 Acura TL.

Further inquiries can be directed to Assistant U. S. Attorney John M. Katko, Syracuse, New York at (315) 448-0916.