WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- A total of 17 Peekskill residents were charged Thursday in a series of drug-related crimes that involved selling crack cocaine and heroin in Peekskill and Cortlandt for the past five years, the U.S. attorney's office announced.
Lorenzo Wagner Jr., 29, was the leader of the drug-trafficking organization whose members and associates have been selling crack cocaine and heroin since January 2008, according to a statement released by the U.S. attorney's office.
Members of the group worked together to ensure that all members profited from drug sales, the U.S. attorney's office said. From 2011 and 2012, the organization operated out of apartments in the Dunbar Heights housing complex in Peekskill, the U.S. attorney's office said. Organization members and associates used those apartments to cook crack cocaine and to package, store and resell drugs. At other times, they operated out of other locations in Peekskill, the U.S. attorney's office.
To secure the group's control of the Peekskill narcotics trade, police said Wagner ordered multiple shootings against rivals. These shootings were carried out by the organization’s enforcers, including associates of the group who were paid to commit acts of violence against rivals, the U.S. attorney's office.
Wagner; Phillip Guzman, 23; Stefano Demicheli, 25; James Patterson, 27; Marquise Roberson, 24; Myron Wagner, 19; and Lorenzo Wagner Sr., 48, were charged with conspiring to distribute and possessing with intent to distribute crack cocaine and heroin from January 2008 to March 2013. Wagner and Patterson are also charged with using, carrying, possessing and discharging firearms during the narcotics conspiracy. Guzman is charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm.
Seven other Peekskill residents are named in a second Indictment that charges four individuals – Lamar Kingwood, 34; Jamel Bailey, 33; Melissa Dabbs, 43; and Isaac Mallory, 33 -- with conspiring to distribute and possessing with intent to distribute, crack cocaine and heroin from January 2008 to March 2013. The second indictment also charges three individuals - Tyron Brickhouse, 28; Kenyata Burnett, 37; and Ronald Carter, 47, – with conspiring to distribute, and possess with intent to distribute, crack cocaine from at least November 2010 to March 2013. Hakim Anderson, 33, and Paul Lockett, 32, were charged in separate complaints with conspiring to distribute, and possess with intent to distribute crack cocaine.
Fifteen of the defendants charged in the indictments and one of the complaints were arrested Thursday or were previously taken into custody. Fourteen of those defendants were presented in federal court in White Plains on Thursday afternoon before U.S. Magistrate Judge Lisa M. Smith. The 15th defendant, Kenyata Burnett, is in state custody and expected to appear in White Plains federal court next week. The two remaining defendants, Paul Lockett and Phillip Guzman, are still at large.
“Even small towns like Peekskill are not immune from the narcotics trade and the violence with which it is inextricably linked," said U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara. "With today’s charges against these 17 defendants who were allegedly responsible for visiting this plague on the community, we are taking an important step forward in returning Peekskill to its law-abiding residents.”
The arrests send a clear message that drugs and violence are not tolerated anywhere in Peekskill, New Peekskill Police Chief Eric Johansen said.
"Our narcotics unit worked closely with the U.S. attorney’s office, the FBI, and the Westchester County Police to break up this violent drug ring," Johansen said. "Our department will continue to set a high standard of performance and excellence to protect all of our citizens and businesses now and in years to come.”
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