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State cops, feds bust drug ring run out of upstate New York firehouse (New York Post)


State cops, feds bust drug ring run out of upstate New York firehouse – By Natalie Musumeci (New York Post) / Feb 5 2019

State Police and federal agents busted a major drug ring Tuesday run by an upstate New York fire lieutenant out of the city’s central firehouse, according to a report.

Longtime smoke-eater Lt. Paul G. Smith of the Middletown Fire Department, the alleged leader of the ring, was among about 20 people who were arrested in connection to the drug bust, the RecordOnline.com reported.

New York State Police and agents from the FBI and DEA staged a series of raids in Orange and Rockland counties Tuesday morning to take down the suspects.

Smith, along with two other men, Garey Michel and Marquis Gamble, were charged with operating as a major trafficker, according to the news outlet.

The men and the other defendants in the case were also hit with charges of second-degree conspiracy.

During Michel’s arraignment, Orange County Assistant District Attorney Neal Eriksen told a judge that the defendants conspired to sell 30-milligram oxycodone tablets “which were, in fact, fentanyl pills,” according to the news outlet.

Michel made more than $70,000 in a span of six months from the scheme, Eriksen said.

Another man busted in connection to the case was Dominick Guardino, the chief of the Mechanicstown Fire Department in Middletown, RecordOnline.com reported.

The prosecutor charged that Guardino obtained pills while in his department-issued vehicle. He faces one count of conspiracy.

Four other men, Joel Gamble, 44, Robert Dunham Jr., George Thomas, 62, and Samuel Marino were also arraigned on conspiracy charges in relation to the distribution of cocaine, according to the news outlet.

Smith, who has been employed by the Middletown Fire Department since March 2002, was expected to be arraigned later Tuesday.

Judge Craig Brown set bail at $1 million cash for Michel and Dunham, $500,000 cash for Joel Gamble, $100,000 cash for Marino, $50,000 cash for Guardino and $75,000 cash for Thomas, according to the report.



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