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Friday, 01 July 2016 09:09

‘Operation Chopper’ Guilty Pleas - June 26, 2016 – New York

ncom logo‘Operation Chopper’ Guilty Pleas - June 26, 2016 – New York – By Kathy Welsh; 
 
 
 
 
 
http://HudsonValleyNewsNetwork.com - Orange County District Atty David M. Hoovler announced on Thu, June 23, 2016, defendants charged in the “Operation Chopper” enforcement action pleaded guilty to the Class A felony of Operating as a Major Trafficker, & the Class B Felony of Enterprise Corruption, as well as to other charges.   Brandon Masker pleaded guilty before Orange County Court Judge Robert Freehill to Operating as a Major Trafficker.  During his plea Masker admitted that he was the director of a controlled substance organization that distributed cocaine throughout Orange County & surrounding areas, & that he had at least 4 people working under him, who distributed the cocaine for him throughout Orange County.   Under the plea arrangement announced in Court, Masker faces up to 15 years in State Prison.  Masker’s organization was centered in the Town of Warwick. In addition to uncovering crimes related to narcotics distribution, the “Operation Chopper” investigation also revealed crimes committed by “outlaw motorcycle clubs”.
 
    Ryan Culver pleaded guilty to Enterprise Corruption for criminal acts he committed as the President of the now defunct Young Souls MC. Culver admitted selling cocaine on behalf of the Young Souls, a self-described “outlaw biker club” in Sept 2014 & May 2015, & possessing a pistol in late 2013. That pistol was later used in a shooting in an Otisville bar by another Young Souls club member.    Charles Sawtelle also pleaded guilty to Enterprise Corruption for criminal acts he committed as the Pres of the Cycle Lords MC. Sawtelle admitted not only selling cocaine & methadone pills, but also possessing an illegal high capacity magazine on behalf of the Cycle Lords.
 
    Amanda Rohloff pleaded guilty on June 23, 2016, to Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the 3rd Degree & Conspiracy in the 4th Degree. Rohloff admitted that she possessed cocaine with intent to sell it, & that she was selling it on behalf of Ryan Culver.   Richard Tomczak, his brother, Joseph Tomczak, Peter Noger, & John Scheinert all pleaded guilty on June 23, 2016, to Conspiracy in the 4th Degree & each admitted agreeing to helping Masker sell cocaine.  On June 23, 2016, Carl Digirolamo pleaded guilty to Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the 3rd Degree.  Digirolamo admitted to possessing cocaine he received from Anthony Spagnola with the intent to sell it.
 
    On April 28, 2016, members of the N.Y. State Police Special Investigations Unit, in conjunction with the Orange County District Atty’s Office & the Sussex County, N.J., Prosecutor’s Office, executed multiple search warrants & made over 20 arrests throughout Orange County, surrounding counties in N.Y., & Sussex County, as a result of a 7-month-long narcotics investiga-tion. LE officials recovered more than 2 kilograms of cocaine, most of which they seized in Sussex County. The investigation included the use of electronic surveillance, including wiretaps.
 
Other defendants who had previously pleaded guilty to felonies related to the case are listed below.  The results of the investigation were presented to a specially empaneled Orange County Grand Jury. Those charged in this enforcement action include:
 - Miguel Galvan, age 36, of Vernon, NJ, charged with Operating as a Major Trafficker.
 - Brandon G. Masker, age 33, of Warwick, charged with & pled guilty to Operating as a Major Trafficker on June 23, 2016.
 - Ryan M. Culver, age 29, of Otisville, charged with Enterprise Corruption.
 - Amanda Rohloff, age 24, of Bloomingburg, charged with & pled guilty to Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance 3rd degree & Conspiracy in the 4thdegree, on June 23, 2016.
 - Carl Digirolamo, age 26, of Bloomingburg, charged with & pled guilty to Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance 3rd degree, on June 23, 2016.
 - Gerald F. O’Brien III, age 33, of Pine Island, charged with Criminal Possession of Controlled Substance 3rd degree.
 - Charles M. Sawtelle, age 53, of Westbrookville, charged with & pled guilty to Enterprise Corruption, on June 23, 2016.
 - Kevin P. Kelly, age 31, of Warwick, charged with & pled guilty to Conspiracy 4th degree, on May 25, 2016.
 - Richard J. Tomczak Jr., age 34, of Goshen, charged with & pled guilty to Conspiracy 4th degree, on June 23, 2016.
 - Peter M. Noger, age 55, of Goshen, charged with & pled guilty to Conspiracy 4th degree, on June 23, 2016.
 - Robert A. Howell, age 55, of Warwick, charged with & pled guilty to Conspiracy 4th degree, on June 17, 2016.
 - Cody M. Caplandies, age 21, of Middletown, charged with & pled guilty to Conspiracy 4th degree, on May 18, 2016.
 - Thomas P. Caplandies Jr. age 46, of Bloomingburg, charged with & pled guilty to Conspiracy 4th degree, on May 18, 2016.
 - Jenna D. Manapat, age 24, of Johnson, charged with & pled guilty to Conspiracy 4th degree, on May 20, 2016.
 - Jacob Gavin, age 25, of Wurtsboro, charged with & pled guilty to Conspiracy 4th degree, on June 10, 2016.
 - David A. Nielsen, age 47, of Middletown, charged with & pled guilty to Conspiracy 4th degree, on May 13, 2016.
 - Joseph Tomczak, age 28, of Warwick, charged with & pled guilty to Conspiracy 4th degree, on June 23, 2016.
 - John Shienert, age 24, of Warwick, charged with & pled guilty to Conspiracy 4th degree, on June 23, 2016.
Additional defendants are expected to be charged in connection with this operation.
 
    Miguel Galvin is currently charged in New Jersey with Maintaining or Operating a Controlled Dangerous Substance Production Facility in the 1st Degree; Possession with Intent to Distribute Cocaine in the 1st Degree; Certain Persons Not to Possess Weapons in the 2nd Degree; Possession of Weapon & Controlled Dangerous Substance & Other Offenses in the 2nd Degree; & Prohibited Weapons Device in the 4th Degree.   Joseph Carloni, 43, of Vernon, N.J., has been charged with Conspiracy in the 2nd Degree.   He is currently incarcerated in N.J. on unrelated charges. A hold has been placed on Carloni to ensure that he returns to N.Y. to face these charges.   He is scheduled to appear in Orange County Court on Aug 24, 2016.
 
    Brandon Masker’s plea marks the 1st time that there has been a plea to Operating as a Major Trafficker in Orange County,& the 1st time the Orange County District Atty’s office has charged someone with that crime. The crime which passed by the N.Y. State in 2009 is referred to as the “Drug Kingpin Statute” & is reserved for high level drug dealers.  One of the elements of the crime is that the offender possess over $75,000 worth of narcotics with intent to sell them in a 1 year time period.  Similarly, Ryan Culver’s & Charles Sawtelle’s guilty pleas mark the 1st time that pleas to Enterprise Corruption have been obtained by the Orange County District Atty’s Office.  The crime of Enterprise Corruption was created to address the particular& cumulative harm posed by persons who band together in complex criminal organizations. The New York State was inspired by the Fed Racketeer Influenced&  Corrupt Organizations law.   In addition to filing criminal charges, the Orange County District Atty’s Office has also instituted a civil forfeiture proceeding against many of these defendants in order to seize from them profits that they have made illegally selling narcotics. The suit seeks over $500,000 in illegally obtained profits.  It is anticipated that additional charges against additional defendants will be filed
 
    “The narcotics trafficking that is destroying the fabric of our society & killing our residents must be fought at every level,” said District Attorney Hoovler. “It is only through enforcement actions such as “Operation Chopper” that LE is able to pursue those higher level drug dealers & craftier offenders who attempt to insulate themselves from criminal liability by dealing drugs through intermediaries. Although we have emphasized education & treatment as important avenues to keep people off drugs in the first place, so that we may dry up the demand for illegal narcotics, we have also made it a priority to attack the supply of narcotics by vigorous enforcement actions against narcotics dealers. Organized criminal activity, especially which involves illegal weapons, presents the public & LE with additional challenges & concerns, & it simply cannot be tolerated. My office will continue to use every tool at our disposal, including the use of wiretaps, civil forfeiture actions, & utilizing criminal statutes which have never been charged before in Orange County, to combat the illicit narcotics trade & all types of organized criminal activity.”
 
   
  
Respects, Mike  
NCOM Brothers Behind Bars Newsletter Editor
Last modified on Saturday, 02 July 2016 03:23

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