Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Cop and firefighter ringleaders in drug ring

Middletown, NY  (February 6, 2019) BTN — A Middletown firefighter and a retired Spring Valley police officer were among the dozens arrested as part of a sweep of allegedly drug dealing bikers in Orange County Tuesday.

Authorities say more than 20 people were taken into custody when search warrants were executed at 15 locations in connection with two separate drug rings, with the same man -- fire Lieutenant Paul Young -- at the center of both.

In all, 29 people were targeted for arrest, and investigators say leaders of the drug rings were so brazen that they sometimes met at the fire house.

Officials say the investigation, dubbed "Operation Bread, White and Blues," centered on several motorcycle organizations that allegedly distributed cocaine, fentanyl, marijuana and steroids.

The suspects were identified as:

--Paul Smith, 48, of Deerpark
--Robert Dunham, 46, of Middletown
--Marquis Gable, 34, of Nyack
--John Beltempo, 49, of New Windsor
--Kenneth Nunez, 39, of Spring Valley
--Garry Michel, 48, of Wallkill
--Joel Gamble, 44, of Cuddebackville
--Samuel Marino, 30, of Campbell Hall
--Arthur Mays, 30, of Middletown
--George Thomas, 61, of Bloomingburg
--David Lebel, 55, of Middletown
--Jennifer Peterson, 46, of Chester
--Vincenza Ferrante, 35, of New Windsor
--Shawn Daniels, 52, of Monroe
--Salvatore DiStefano, 36, of Westtown
--Melissa Delrosso, 35, of Middletown
--Raymond Chong, 49, of Middletown
--Tara Schoonmaker, 48, of Wurtsboro
--Crystal Crozier, 36, of Middletown
--Donald Johnston, 46, of Middletown
--Anthony Fields, 44, of Middletown
--Desmon Pierson, 36, of Middletown
--Dominick Guardino, 55, of Middletown
--Sunshine Wall, 40, of Cuddebackville
--Nicholas Ciccone, 47, of Port Jervis
--Charles Kavanaugh, 31, of Newburgh
--Gary Caldwell, 33, of Wappingers
--Justin Antona, 27, of Slate Hill
--Andrew Bendig, 23, of Middletown

The drugs reportedly came from both domestic and foreign sources, with the suspect allegedly selling the drugs throughout Orange County.

Most raided locations were in Orange County, but one location where the bikers allegedly purchased the drugs was at the Warren Hills apartment complex in Nyack, Rockland County. Authorities say they were then sold in Orange County.

State police, DEA agents and the FBI agents executed the warrants. Law enforcement officials recovered more than $200,000 in cash, 25 handguns, one assault rifle, multiple rifles, 10 vehicles, two motorcycles, more than 2.5 pounds of cocaine and 1,300 Fentanyl pills.

Authorities say Smith, a paid lieutenant of the City of Middletown Fire Department, has been charged with crimes including operating as a major trafficker as the alleged ringleader of both operations, working in tandem with Dunham.

Gamble and Michel, also charged with crimes including operating as major trafficker, are alleged to have been "profiteers" in the conspiracies to sell cocaine and narcotics pills. It is alleged that it was Gamble's role to provide cocaine to other members of the conspiracy, while Michel was to sell narcotic pills that were marketed to buyers as containing oxycodone but which actually contained fentanyl.

The pills were colored, stamped, and marked to appear to be oxycodone pills.

Beltempo previously worked for the Village of Spring Valley Police Department, the Orange County Sheriff's office and the Town of Wallkill Police Department.