By Mark Boshnack
The Daily Star
---- — A “significant investigation” has led to the arrest of six New York City and Otsego County residents during the past three months on charges linked to heroin trafficking, Otsego County Sheriff Richard J. Devlin Jr. said Friday.
The two-year investigation, called Operation Dial Tone, was a joint effort among the sheriff’s office, the Albany office of the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Oneonta Police Department and county District Attorney John Muehl.
The first arrests were made Dec. 7, after deputies stopped a car driven by Daniel P. Parrotte, 24, of Mount Upton, for an equipment violation. Two other men, Eric Doherty, 22, of Unadilla, and Azar K. Hughes 24, of Oneonta, were with Parrotte, authorities said.
The deputies questioned the men about their movements, and none of them admitted having visited New York City, Devlin said in a press release. But Deputy Keith Sheldon noticed city parking tickets on the dashboard, Devlin said. And Deputy Michael Stalter saw a syringe in the inside door handle, he said.
Sheldon and Stalter then decided to search the car, he said. Sheldon’s K-9 dog zeroed in on a gaming console and baseball cap that were in the backseat where Hughes had been sitting, Devlin said.
Assisted by DEA agents and Oneonta police offices, they found 209 packets of heroin, valued at $8,180, in the gaming console and a small quantity of crack cocaine in the baseball cap, deputies said.
All three were arrested for third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and fourth-degree conspiracy, both felonies, Devlin said. Doherty also was charged with criminal possession a hypodermic instrument, and Hughes was charged with seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.
They were arraigned the next day and remanded to the Otsego County jail on $25,000 bail. Each faces up to nine years in prison if convicted, deputies said.
The next arrest was made Dec. 17, when Oneonta police took Anthony M. Kinloch, age 20, of Queens into custody and charged him with third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and second degree assault, a misdemeanor.
That arrest resulted from surveillance of the Oneonta Bus Station on Market Street undertaken because buses are now commonly used to transport heroin from New York City to Oneonta, deputies said.
Authorities said officers approached and questioned Kinloch, who was waiting for the bus to leave. He gave inconsistent and non-truthful answers to questions to them, they said. He was then searched, and police found a bundle of heroin and $585 in cash, authorities said.
As officers attempted to handcuff Kinloch, he fled on foot, causing injury to an investigator, they said.
Patrolman Phillip Kraft eventually located Kinloch in a stream in Neahwa Park without further incident, deputies said.
He was arraigned Dec. 18 and sent to the Otesego County jail on $20,000 bail. He faces up to nine years in prison if convicted, deputies said.
The same day, Louis Medina, 24, of New York City, was arrested for third-degree criminal possession of controlled substance, after arriving in Oneonta on a bus from New York City, deputies said.
Officers found that he was carrying 200 packets of heroin, they said. He was arraigned and sent to Otsego County jail in lieu of $20,000 bail. He faces up to nine years in prison if convicted on the possession charge, deputies said.
Two months later, Feb. 17, deputies arrested Anays Garcia, 25, of New York City at the Downstate Correctional Facility in Fishkill, when she went to visit her boyfriend, Jose “Flip” Rodriguez, deputies said. Rodriguez is serving a 40-year prison sentence for operating as a major trafficker in Otsego County and is awaiting trial on charges for allegedly running his drug trafficking organization from the prison in the fall of 2011.
Garcia was arrested by officers from the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision and turned over to deputies.
She is accused of directing the heroin drug trafficking organization from New York City since the summer of 2012 and faces charges of operating as a major trafficker, second-degree conspiracy and third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, all felonies, deputies said.
Garcia is being held at the Otsego County jail without bail. If convicted she could face up to 54 years in state prison.
“The arrest of Anays Garcia is satisfying in two ways,” Devlin said. “It not only takes a drug dealer off the street but more importantly it dismantled an elaborate drug trafficking ring.”
Oneonta Police Chief Dennis R. Nayor praised the efforts of the various agencies involved.
“A lot of hard work and mutual agency cooperation went into this investigation, and the arrests were a direct result of that hard work and cooperation,” he said.