ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Albany Police Chief Brendan Cox, and New York State Police have indicted 27 people for operating two drug distribution rings: one that allegedly transported heroin, cocaine and illegal narcotic pills throughout New York State and surrounding States; and a second that allegedly sold cocaine throughout the City of Albany.

“Operation Uptown Red Alert strikes a blow in the fight against the heroin and opioid epidemic that continues to plague New York State, as well as the Country as a whole,” said Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman. “I will not tolerate those who peddle death in our neighborhoods. My office and our partners in law enforcement will continue to use all of the tools and resources at our disposal to fight this criminal and public health epidemic.”

Over the course of the year-long investigation, which was led by the Attorney General’s Organized Crime Task Force (OCTF), New York State Police, and the Albany Police Department, authorities seized:

  • More than two pounds of bulk heroin capable of being packaged into 50,000 bags of heroin to be sold on the street, giving the heroin an approximate street value of $5o0,000
  • More than 1 pound of bulk cocaine with an approximate street value of $50,000
  • 1,067 Oxycodone pills
  • 2 shotguns
  • 1 hand gun
  • Over $21,000 in cash
  • 7 MDMA (“Molly”) pills.
  • A homemade heroin kilogram press

The two separate indictments charge 27 individuals with 324 crimes including three individuals charged with Operating as a Major Trafficker which carries a mandatory life sentence in state prison, and various counts of Criminal Sale and Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance (class A and B felonies), and Conspiracy to commit those crimes. The Operating as a Major Trafficker statute (§220.77 of the Penal Law of the State of New York), authored by Attorney General Schneiderman when he was a legislator, went into effect in November 2009, as part of reforms to the Rockefeller-era drug laws and is the only felony narcotics charge in the state that carries a possible life sentence.

“Operation Uptown Red Alert” focuses on two major distribution rings:

The first ring – codenamed “Uptown” — was allegedly comprised of at least 6 individuals. This ring would allegedly send cocaine from New York City to Albany and then distribute it in and around the City of Albany. Over the course of the investigation, authorities seized one pound of cocaine.

The Second ring – codenamed “Red Alert”- was allegedly comprised of at least 21 individuals. This ring would allegedly send heroin, cocaine and illegal prescription medication from New York City to Albany and then distribute it in and around the Capital Region, the Catskill Region, and the States of Maine and Pennsylvania. Over the course of the investigation, authorities seized over 1,000 grams of bulk heroin capable of being turned into 50,000 bags of heroin with a potential street value of $500,0000; and over 1,000 illegal Oxycodone pills that were in route to the State of Maine for distribution. The ring also included one individual- Korey Holloway- who managed his own narcotics trafficking ring from behind bars while he was serving a prison term in the State of Pennsylvania for an unrelated drug trafficking conviction. Holloway would allegedly arrange for the purchase of narcotics from prison and have his girlfriend pick them up and then sell them. At times, Holloway allegedly used 3-way calls from prison to discuss drug deals with defendant Juan Ramos, of Brooklyn, a supplier, and his girlfriend.

The ring includes three people charged with “Operating as a Major Trafficker”:

  • Diomedes Silfa, of Bronx, New York
  • Noemi Maldonado, of Brooklyn, New York
  • Juan Ramos of Brooklyn, New York

The three major traffickers allegedly arranged for heroin and cocaine to be transported from New York City to the Capitol Region and, as previously noted, face mandatory life sentences.

The remaining defendants face maximum sentences between 9 and 24 years in prison, depending on the individual’s criminal history.

Those charged in today’s two indictments include:

  • Noemi Maldonado, of Brooklyn, New York (Charged with Operating as a Major Trafficker)
  • Juan Ramos, of Brooklyn, New York (Charged with Operating as a Major Trafficker)
  • Diomedes Silfa, of Bronx, New York (Charged with Operating as a Major Trafficker)
  • Amber Best, of Allentown, Pennsylvania
  • Clifford Chesky, of Albany, New York
  • Scott Cross, of Freehold, New York
  • Carla Davis, of Albany, New York
  • Symphony Davis, of Rensselaer, New York
  • Christopher Demasi, of Cobleskill, New York
  • Charles Hall, of Albany, New York
  • Eric Hines, of Albany, New York
  • Korey Holloway, of Allentown, Pennsylvania
  • Elijah Johnson, of Troy, New York
  • Isaiah Johnson, of Albany, New York
  • Adrian Mattei, of Albany, New York
  • Lowell McGill, of Schenectady, New York
  • Michael Miller, of Albany, New York
  • Marlon Nesbeth, of Albany, New York
  • Pedro Pablo Ramirez, of Bronx, New York
  • Joseph Rozier, of Rensselaer, New York
  • Lachone Rozier, of Albany, New York
  • Joseph Russo, of Albany, New York
  • Jennifer Sablan, of Brooklyn, New York
  • Aliem Shabazz, of Albany, New York
  • Manuel Soto, of Cornwallville, New York
  • Neylon Wagner, of Albany, New York
  • Martin Wright, of Palermo, Maine

Several additional agencies participated in the investigation, including the New York National Guard Counterdrug Task Force, United States Department of Homeland Security, United States Drug Enforcement Administration, the New York Police Department, the United States Probation Office and the United States Marshalls Service.

The investigation was conducted by OCTF Investigator John Monte, Supervising Investigator William Charles, and personnel from the Albany Police Department and New York State Police.

The case is being prosecuted by OCTF Assistant Deputy Attorneys General Michael Sharpe and Andrew McElwee, and Deputy Chief Eugene Black.  The Investigations Bureau is led by Chief Investigator Dominick Zarrella. Deputy Attorney General Peri Alyse Kadanoff runs the Attorney General’s Organized Crime Task Force. The Executive Deputy Attorney General for Criminal Justice is Kelly Donovan.

The charges against the defendants are accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.