Originally posted by Rob Abruzzese, Legal EditorBrooklyn Daily Eagle
Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced his sixth major drug bust in recent weeks, and this one had some star power as "Operation Wrecking Ball" led to 19 arrests on 226 charges as a gun and drug trafficking ring was busted up.
The two major traffickers involved, Cedric James and Laquan Wright, both of Brooklyn, allegedly arranged for large quantities of cocaine to be transported from Brooklyn and parts of New York City to the Albany region.
During the course of the yearlong investigation, officials noticed that traffickers were using coded and cryptic terminology in an attempt to disguise their alleged illicit activities and often referred to cocaine that they sold as "Miley Cyrus."
In total, investigators found more than three pounds of bulk cocaine, 35 firearms, more than $63,000 in cash and large quantities of drug paraphernalia.
“Operation Wrecking Ball marks another significant dent in the narcotics pipeline that funnels in drugs and guns and threatens families across the Capital Region,” said Schneiderman. “My office is laser-focused on the growing epidemic of drugs and violence that’s surging across our state.
“Today’s arrests — and the 265 dealers we’ve taken off the street in the last two months alone — send an unmistakable message that we won’t tolerate those who deal death and violence in our communities,” Schneiderman continued.
The charges include operating as a major trafficker, which carries with it a mandatory life sentence in state prison. Other charges involved include criminal sale and criminal possession of a controlled substance (class A and B felonies), and conspiracy to commit those crimes.
The remaining defendants face maximum sentences between nine and 24 years in prison.
The other 17 charged in the case included Joseph Berghela, Elijahjuan Cancer, Derrick Carrington, Richard Chrise, Dennis Durham, Ladawn Harris, Clifford Jackson, Lewis Labshere, I’Quan Mayo, Traevon Shannon, Christopher Mozone, Nekie Ricks and Deanna McCargo, all from Albany, New York; and Octavius Mills (Ruecker), Summer Saglimbeni, Meghan Wilkinson and Frances Wright, of Schenectady, New York.
The case was investigated by the Organized Crime Task Force, the Albany Police Department and was assisted by the NY National Guard Counterdrug Task Force.