Operation Dial Tone Dismantles Heroin Trafficking Organization
Leader of organization arrested today in the Bronx, NY
OTSEGO COUNTY, N.Y. - Brian R. Crowell, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement (DEA) New York Division, Otsego County Sheriff Richard J. Devlin, Jr., Otsego County District Attorney John M. Muehl and Oneonta Police Department Chief Dennis R. Nayor announce the arrest of drug kingpin Edgar Joe Monets AKA "E", Age 34, of 2125 Holland Avenue and 214 E. 168th Street, Bronx, NY following a joint three year investigation into heroin trafficking in Otsego County known as "Operation Dial Tone".
Over the past 36 months, the Otsego County Sheriff's Office Criminal Investigation Division, the DEA Albany District Office and Oneonta Police Department Detective Bureau have spent hundreds of man hours investigating this heroin drug trafficking organization which has led to the arrest of 18 individuals at this point in the investigation. Law enforcement officers have used a variety of tools during the extensive investigation to include executing search warrants and court orders, the use of confidential sources and undercover police officers to purchase narcotic drugs, confidential source debriefings and physical and electronic surveillance.
Edgar Montes took over the Bronx, NY based heroin drug trafficking organization in late fall of 2010 after Jose "Flip" Rodriguez, current New York State Department of Corrections and Community (NYS DOCCS) inmate serving a 40 year sentence and formerly of the Bronx, NY, was arrested for operating as a major trafficker in Otsego County. In the fall of 2011, Jamele Baez, formerly of the Bronx, NY and presently in NYS DOCCS custody, took over the operation until she was arrested for criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree at Jose Rodriguez's Otsego County Court sentencing in December 2011. After Baez's arrest, Bronx, NY resident and friend of Rodriguez and Baez, Anays Garcia, took over the heroin drug trafficking organization until she was arrested as a major trafficker in February 2013 when she showed up to visit Rodriguez at the Downstate Correctional Facility in Fishkill, NY. Garcia is presently under indictment in the Otsego County Court.
Montes was indicted by the Otsego County Grand Jury on November 26th on the following charges:
Operating as a major trafficker - a class A-I felony - for directing the drug organization between January 1, 2011 and October 1, 2011 and receiving more than $75,000 in proceeds;
Criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree - class B felonies - for directly or indirectly being involved in the sale of heroin on June 03, 2010, March 22, 2011 and August 10, 2011;
Criminal possession of controlled substance in the third degree - class B felony - for constructively possessing heroin with intent to sell on May 27, 2011.
Edgar Montes was arrested early this morning at the Bronx County Court House by Sheriff's office investigators on the sealed indictment warrant of arrest. He was returned to Otsego County where he was arraigned by County Court Judge John F. Lambert. Montes was remanded to the Otsego County Correctional Facility on $500,000 bail returnable on December 20th at 9:30 a.m. in front of Judge Brian D. Burns.
Montes faces up to 36 years in prison if convicted on the indicted sales and possession of heroin charges or 29 years on all counts due to the sales and possession being within the major trafficking time period.
District Attorney John M. Muehl is prosecuting the case.
DEA Special Agent in Charge Brian R. Crowell stated, "Resulting from the seizure of nearly one thousand heroin filled dime bags with a value of approximately $20,000 for sale on the streets of Oneonta and the arrest of 14 local heroin pushers and conspirators as well as the two other major traffickers, law enforcement identified and arrested the Bronx based source of supply and the last major trafficker defendant in this investigation, Edgar Montes. Montes led this heroin trafficking organization and profited thousands of dollars on a weekly basis from the sale of heroin throughout the Oneonta community with no regard for public safety. Getting heroin out of the hands of our youth and arresting those responsible for its distribution is our top priority and I commend the men and women of the DEA Albany DO, Otsego County Office of the Sheriff, Otsego County District Attorney's Office and Oneonta PD for their diligent work leading this investigation and the assistance from our law enforcement partners with the Cooperstown Police Department, Delaware County Sheriff's Office, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Homicide Bureau, New York City Police Department, New York State Department of Correctional Services and Community Supervision; New York State Division of Parole Utica Office; Otsego County District Attorney's Office, Otsego County District Attorney's Special Investigation Unit and the Otsego County Probation Department."
Sheriff Devlin, Jr said, "This arrest is the result of a three year investigation that focused on illegal drug trafficking. Because of the size and scope of the activity investigated, we feel confident that not only the communities of Otsego County, but many other communities across the state, will benefit. Arrests like this just don't fall into place. They take hours of committed police work, dedication and teamwork. Without our law enforcement partners, this type of case is almost unmanageable. This particular case exhibited every element of a major drug trafficking ring, in manpower, scope and reach. We truly hope this shows how we are keeping our promise to the community by targeting illegal drug trafficking and those who profit from it."
Oneonta PD Chief Dennis R. Nayor said "This arrest is the result of a great deal of hard work and mutual cooperation from multiple law enforcement agencies. Those individuals wishing to be involved in the drug trade in the City of Oneonta or anywhere else in Otsego County will hopefully realize that it will only be a matter of time before they are arrested and sent to prison."
Investigators seized over $20,000 in U.S. currency, approximately 1,000 packets of heroin, drug packaging materials, drug paraphernalia, electronic scales, small quantities of marijuana and crack cocaine and personal electronic devices during the investigation.
The following agencies assisted with investigation: Cooperstown Police Department; Delaware County Sheriff's Office; Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Homicide Bureau; New York City Police Department; New York State Department of Correctional Services and Community Supervision; New York State Division of Parole Utica Office; Otsego County District Attorney's Office, Otsego County District Attorney's Special Investigation Unit and the Otsego County Probation Department.