By DENISE RAYMO
---- — MASSENA — Police disrupted a wholesale drug-trafficking ring that bought cocaine, crack and heroin in bulk downstate then sold it here.
Two of the 11 people taken into custody on Thursday are former Franklin County residents, District Attorney Derek Champagne said.
Jessica Monaghan, 26, and Leslie Moore, 27, now both of Massena, were among those charged under a federal indictment with possession with the intent to distribute a controlled substance and conspiracy for allegedly having 500 grams (17 ounces) of cocaine, 28 grams (1 ounce) of crack cocaine and heroin, said Richard Hartunian, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District.
He held a news conference at the Massena Town Hall, surrounded by members of the myriad law-enforcement agencies that took part in the investigation and raids.
Hartunian said another unidentified person involved in the alleged crimes had not been arrested as of Thursday and that $11,000 in cash and five guns were seized in the raids, along with the variety of drugs.
He said the gang used threats, intimidation and violence to gain and retain a foothold on the Massena drug trade that generated “hundreds of thousands of dollars” in sales.
Moore and Monaghan are also among those who must forfeit everything purchased with the drug profits they allegedly collected during transactions in Franklin, Clinton and St. Lawrence counties, officials said.
Also charged in the high-profile raids — that included Blackhawk helicopters hovering overhead at some of the arrest sites — were Codi Burke, 21, Bernie Russo, 35, Kimberly Jandrew, 27, Justin Brailsford, 25, Zachary Huto, 21, and Paul “Cash” Williams, all of Massena; and three men from New York City, Patrick “Problem” Lloyd, 25, Michael Spencer, 25, and Jon Garcia.
Brailsford and Garcia were additionally charged with possession with the intent to distribute cocaine and heroin in an alleged incident on July 6 in Clinton County, and Williams was charged with possession with the intent to distribute crack stemming from an alleged incident Aug. 8.
Lloyd, who has a prior felony drug conviction and could face a minimum of 10 years and a maximum of life in federal prison, is a suspect in a kidnapping case in St. Lawrence County and a case involving weapons and drugs in Franklin County.
All the others charged face a minimum of five years and a maximum of 40 years in federal prison if convicted.
Several community members crowded into the conference room with dozens of law-enforcement personnel to hear Hartunian outline how the busts were carried out, and three people thanked him and those gathered for breaking up the drug network.
“... these criminal groups have no boundaries, and it is only through local, state and federal cooperation that we can make a difference and keep organized drug distribution networks out of the North County,” Champagne said in a statement.
Email Denise A. Raymo:firstname.lastname@example.org