Ellenville area is the target of a major drug bust involving multiple federal, state and local police agencies. At least 13 people have been arrested.
By Paul Brooks
Accord — Police swept up 13 mid-level dealers on felony drug and gang charges early this morning.
About 60 police descended on a motel and residences in Ellenville and the towns of Wawarsing and Rochester shortly after 6 a.m.
The officers seized 7 people on sealed grand jury indictments. Another local woman was picked up last night on a sealed indictment. Yet another person named in a sealed indictment is being held in New Jersey, according to Ulster County Undersheriff Frank Faluotico.
The other arrests resulted from information gleaned this morning from the first wave of suspects. The subsequent arrests included an older man nabbed while driving on Route 44/55. He had heroin in his possession, police said.
The sweep netted 4 ounces of crack cocaine, Faluotico said. No one was injured in the busts, though one suspect did try to escape on foot. Officers collared him after a chase of about one quarter mile.
The arrests capped a three-month long undercover investigation by officers in the county's URGENT drug and gang task force. Officers in the raid came from the office of Ulster Sheriff Paul VanBlarcum; the City of Kingston, the towns of Ulster, New Paltz, Lloyd, Saugerties and Shandaken, along with Ulster County Probation, Parole and Corrections. Agents from the FBI, DEA, and ATF joined in the effort. Assistant District Attorney Kevin O'Brien was on hand as was Frank Dart, chairman of the county Legislature's Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee.
Some of those arrested profess to belong to an Ellenville gang dubbed the Four Block Bloods. Ironically, at least some of them may have helped police. Officers distributed a picture from a video posted on Youtube. The picture includes one man arrested yesterday holding an AK-47. The other six people in the picture sported gang style red clothing.
Police hadn't released the names of the suspects this morning.
See tomorrow's Times Herald-Record for more details on this breaking story.