Tuesday, September 02, 2014

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Saratoga County

Dozens charged in drug distribution ring

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Albany/HV: Dozens charged in drug distribution ring
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Nearly three dozen people now face charges after police crackdown on a ring that brought drugs from New York City to the Capital Region. Lori Chung has more on what police dubbed Operation North Star.

CAPITAL REGION, N.Y. -- Two kilos of cocaine and $100,000 in cash are displayed as some of the evidence seized during a major cocaine crackdown. Thirty-one people are now facing charges in a 226 count indictment.

"Our investigators collectively, as a seamless team, listened to hundreds of hours of wiretaps," said Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

Over 11 months, officials say they uncovered a trafficking ring that funneled cocaine from New York City to Albany, Schenectady and Rensselear counties. Surveillance also allegedly capturing Emerald Cancer and Rondell Jackson plotting to kill an associate.

"They said they were going to have a gun hidden on a wheel well. It was exactly where they had said it would be, so we were able to intercept it at the time they were attempting to commit the murder," said Schneiderman.

The investigation, dubbed "Operation North Star," sprang from police efforts to curb a rise in crime in Albany at the end of 2011.

"We know who was involved, who was behind the guns and we started our investigation," said Albany Police Chief Steven Krokoff.

That led to every one else including Derick Harris, 35, who is facing 47 counts, more than any of the other suspects. His attorney says Harris is among those now coming to terms with the potential consequences of these charges.

"He could be looking at the rest of his life in prison," said Lee Kindlon. "So he's distraught, his family who was in the courtroom was distraught and now we have to put the pieces together and move forward."

The charges in the indictment range from criminal sale of a controlled substance to possession to conspiracy. Officials say they hope this bust serves as a message that Albany is not the place to run this kind of criminal enterprise.

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