SYRACUSE – Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner and Syracuse Police Chief Frank Fowler today (April 27) announced the indictment of a total of 52 people, including many charged with operating a drug trafficking ring that transported heroin and cocaine throughout Onondaga, Oswego, Madison, Cortland and St. Lawrence counties; as well as two groups of individuals within this ring who are alleged to have conspired to murder their rivals.
Approximately 30 individuals indicted today are alleged to be members of the Bricktown Gang, which is alleged to be responsible for a significant amount of violence and drugs on Syracuse streets. The remaining individuals indicted today include both alleged narcotics suppliers and customers who are resellers, as well as alleged members of a rival gang.
The indictments are the result of the Attorney General’s and Syracuse Police Department’s joint investigation, “Operation Bricktown.”
The defendants were arrested yesterday and earlier today in a series of raids in the Syracuse area, as well as in Oswego, Cortland, Monroe, and Madison counties and the states of Pennsylvania and Wyoming.
“These arrests send an unmistakable message: dealing death and violence in our communities will not be tolerated – and we will bring you to justice,” said Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. “Together with last summer’s Operation Smackdown – one of the biggest drug busts in Syracuse history – we’ve taken more than 120 violent drug dealers off the streets of Syracuse, making a major dent in the violent drug gangs plaguing the city. With heroin-related deaths on the rise in our communities, we are committed to partnering with local law enforcement to tackle the crisis.”
“Operation Bricktown has been a successful effort to get dangerous gangs off our streets. Our policing efforts, combined with sophisticated data and new technology, are making Syracuse a safer city,” said Mayor Miner. “I appreciate the efforts of the men and women of the Syracuse Police Department and Attorney General Eric Schneiderman who made this operation possible.”
“The Syracuse Police Department enjoys a great relationship with all State, Local and Federal Agencies, and will work with them as a team to stop people intending to do harm to our community,” said Chief Fowler.
Over the course of the twelve-month investigation, which was led by the Attorney General’s Organized Crime Task Force and the Syracuse Police Department, authorities seized:
Over two kilograms of cocaine
1,128 envelopes of heroin and over 20 grams of loose heroin
9mm Lorcin handgun, loaded and with the serial number obliterated (through ballistics testing, this gun was linked to thirteen incidents in Syracuse from 2015 to 2016)
.40 caliber Glock handgun, loaded with a 30-round magazine
9mm Sig Sauer handgun, loaded with a 15-round magazine
.45 caliber Taurus handgun, loaded
Drug paraphernalia, including scales, packaging and cutting agents
ecstasy pills and psychedelic mushrooms
The two separate indictments charge the 52 individuals with 370 crimes, including Operating as a Major Trafficker, and various counts of Criminal Sale and Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance (class A and B felonies), and Conspiracy to commit those crimes. The Operating as a Major Trafficker statute (§220.77 of the Penal Law of the State of New York), authored by Attorney General Schneiderman when he was a State Senator, went into effect in November 2009, as part of reforms to the Rockefeller-era drug laws. It is the only felony narcotics charge in the state that carries a possible life sentence.
In addition to the 49 individuals facing narcotics charges, two sets of individuals are also charged with Conspiracy to murder rivals.
A second indictment details a second set of four other individuals (who are not alleged to be members of the Bricktown gang) are accused of conspiring to murder their rival as part of an ongoing dispute. Among other details included in the indictment, this group allegedly threw a number of loaded guns out their car window while being pursued by police.
Due directly to the Operation Bricktown investigation, law enforcement was able to thwart several planned shootings in Syracuse last year.
Among the 52 individuals charged in today’s two indictments include:
PAUL BROWN, 31, of Fulton
MATTHEW HUTCHINS, 36, of Fulton
GARY MOORE, 48, of Hastings
MATTHEW MULDOON, 52, of Oswego
TERRI TYLER, 27, of Fulton
Several additional agencies participated in the investigation, including the New York State Police, Onondaga County District Attorney’s Office, Onondaga County Probation Department, New York State Division of Parole, the United States Marshals Service, and the New York National Guard Counterdrug Task Force.
The charges against the defendants are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in a court of law.