24 Indicted: Some of the Largest Methamphetamine Manufacturers, Distributors, Users in Central New York State
June 13 (Syracuse, NY) - Wilbert L. Plummer, the Acting Special Agent-in-Charge of the New York Field Division of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Richard S. Hartunian, United States Attorney for the Northern District of New York, and New York State Police Superintendent Joseph D’Amico announce the indictments of 24 in connection with a major methamphetamine manufacture and distribution investigation and initiative centered in Madison, Oneida, and Oswego Counties. Those indicted represent some of the largest area manufacturers, distributors, and users of the illegal drug methamphetamine in Central New York.
DEA Acting Special Agent in Charge Wilbert L. Plummer stated, "Clandestine methamphetamine labs have surfaced again. In this case, it was through concerted efforts from the DEA, local and state law enforcement to identify those violating the laws and purchasing ephedrine and pseudoephedrine to produce meth for their own use or for distribution. Meth abuse is a serious problem that we are addressing throughout the state of New York and it is law enforcement's responsibility to enforce the laws while working with our educators, treatment and prevention partners to send the message to our community about the dangers of abusing this drug as well as all others."
As purchasers of pseudoephedrine, the active ingredient in the production of methamphetamine, those indicted personally purchased thousands of pseudoephedrine pills over the last two to three years, and received thousands of pills from individuals, known as “smurfs,” who bought the pills to trade for the finished product, methamphetamine, with the meth “cooks.”
The year-long drug investigation that resulted in today’s arrests was the result of an effective collaboration of the U.S. Department of Justice, the New York State Police, and law enforcement agencies in Madison, Oneida, and Oswego Counties. For years, state and local law enforcement have devoted tremendous resources and time to identifying and investigating methamphetamine manufacturing and use, only to discover that there is little or no methamphetamine left when the arrests are made.
This new approach combines the excellent work being done by law enforcement to investigate these crimes with a powerful federal tool for prosecution that makes it a federal felony to possess or distribute pseudoephedrine with the knowledge that it will be used to illegally manufacture methamphetamine, in violation of Title 21, United States Code, Section 841(c)(2). Each of the 24 individuals whose indictments are announced today, and who are listed below, has been charged in a separate indictment alleging one count of this offense.
This joint investigation involved Special Agents and Officers of the DEA Syracuse Resident Office, the Oneida County Sheriff’s Department, the City of Oneida Police Department, the New York State Police, the Canastota Police Department, the Oneida Indian Nation Police, the Madison County Sheriff’s Office, and the District Attorney's Offices of Oneida, Oswego, and Madison Counties. Also assisting in this investigation were the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the United States Marshals Service. The prosecutions are being handled by Assistant United States Attorney Carl Eurenius.
New York State Police Superintendent Joseph D’Amico stated "I'd like to recognize the impressive investigative efforts of our federal, state, county and local law enforcement partners involved with this case. Today's indictments and arrests are the result of a tremendous amount of intelligence, investigative and analytical work. These efforts, along with the support of the U.S. Attorney's Office, will ultimately rid the community of methamphetamine and its associated dangers."
Madison County Sheriff Allen Riley stated “The combined efforts put forward by local police departments, sheriff’s offices, NYSP and federal agencies is a sign of how seriously we take the problem of meth labs. We have seen a growing number of meth lab dumps across the county. The dangers of manufacturing meth and the disposal of the items used to manufacture creates a grave risk for any citizen that comes in contact with it. This raid today will hopefully send a clear message that law enforcement in Madison County will be making this a top priority.”
Those charged with possessing or distributing pseudoephedrine with the knowledge that it will be used to illegally manufacture methamphetamine include the following:
As of late this morning, 16 of the 24 defendants have been arrested by law enforcement authorities and will appear before United States Magistrate Judge Andrew T. Baxter. If convicted, they each face a term of imprisonment of up to twenty (20) years and a fine of up to $250,000. In addition to the drug charge, defendant CASEY SPADTER is also charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm, which carries a penalty of up to ten (10) years imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000.
The indictment is a mere accusation and each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.