More than two dozen members of a Hudson Valley drug trafficking organization were arrested Thursday following an operation initiated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), with assistance from the Ulster County Sheriff’s Office, the New York State Police (NJSP) and other key federal and local law enforcement agencies.
Operation Blood Klot, a joint investigation that began in April 2015, focused on the trafficking of drug and firearms in Kingston and Poughkeepsie, a scheme led by alleged Bloods gang street boss, Recardo Langston, 31, Romell Hearn, 37 and Marcus Fisher, 39.
The individuals listed in the indictment are alleged gang members who have pledged allegiance to violent street gangs like the G-Shine and Sex, Money, Murder, cliques of the Bloods gang.
“These gang members have operated openly with a brazen disregard for law enforcement,” said HSI New York Special Agent in Charge Angel M. Melendez.
“Today’s arrests show our collective resolve to dismantle the street gangs that are threatening our neighborhoods and return public spaces to the residents who should be free to enjoy them.”
“HSI’s collaboration with federal, state and local partners has resulted in fewer gang members menacing the streets of Kingston and Poughkeepsie.”
The indictments, issued out of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of New York (NDNY), charge 25 members of the Kingston-based drug trafficking organization.
In addition, six defendants face firearms charges, five defendants are charged with possessing cocaine with the intent to distribute it, and 5 defendants are charged with possessing heroin with the intent to distribute it.
“Today’s arrests are the result of a major, multi-agency effort to dismantle a sophisticated drug trafficking organization that was based in Kingston, distributed drugs throughout the Hudson Valley, and had sources of supply in New York City and California,” said Richard S. Hartunian, U.S. Attorney for NDNY.
“Our goal is not only to arrest drug dealers, but also to improve the quality of life in the places where they operated. The teamwork on display in this operation is integral to our efforts to preserve public safety and low-crime communities.”
In connection with this investigation, HSI special agents and other law enforcement officers have seized 20 firearms, approximately 5 kilograms of cocaine, 153 grams of heroin, 90 grams of crack cocaine, 1.5 kilograms of marijuana, and 75 oxycodone pills.
Thursday’s arrests were coordinated with an investigation in the Southern District of New York (SDNY) that targeted cocaine distributors operating in and around Poughkeepsie.
As a result of that investigation, 15 defendants were indicted for cocaine trafficking and other crimes in an indictment also unsealed in federal court in White Plains.
The charges in the indictments are merely accusations. The defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty. The government’s case is being prosecuted by the Northern District of New York. Related cases are being prosecuted out of SDNY.
Members of the public who have information about those presenting a national security threat and/or threat to the community are urged to contact ICE by calling the toll-free ICE tip line at 1-866-347-2423 or internationally at 001-1802-872-6199.
They can also complete ICE’s online tip form.