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14 in Hornell facing felony charges after "Operation Spring Break" Executed

HORNELL, N.Y. (18 NEWS) - Nearly 60 officers from numerous agencies around Steuben County worked together for six months before arresting over a dozen drug dealers in the City of Hornell Thursday morning.

What officials are calling operation spring break started with just a few investigations into drug dealers in the City of Hornell back in June of 2017.

"What we did is took 14 people off the street who were selling drugs on a regular basis," Steuben County District Attorney Brooks Baker said.

Though the accused sold different types of drugs, including heroin, cocaine, fentanyl and prescription pills, the indictments for all 14 arrested are nearly identical. Each of the accused faces Criminal Possession and Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance charges. However, there is one outlier:
"One of the indictments here is relatively unique, Joshua Withrow was charged with criminally negligent homicide," Baker said. "That's a situation where it's alleged that he sold drugs that killed someone in an overdose situation several months ago."

Despite all 14 selling drugs and being arrested on the same day, police said they don't believe the accused were working together. 

"We were just waiting for a point where we had enough so we would be able to do a significant round up of people," Hornell Police Chief Ted Murrary said.

Officers from the Hornell, Bath, and Canisteo Village Police, Corning City Police,  as well as the Steuben County Sheriffs Office, New York State Police in Bath and the Community Narcotics Enforcement Team all worked together to make these arrests possible.

Though "Operation Spring Break" proved to be extremely successful, there was one person targeted who was not arrested on Thursday: 63-year-old Hamid Afzali.
"He is a person of interest in this operation," Baker said. "We have yet to locate him--our belief is he has some sort of connection to New York City. But if anyone has any information about his whereabouts please contact the Hornell Police Department and let them know."

Officials said "Operation Spring Break" is ongoing. If you have any information about drug activity in Steuben County, call the anonymous tip line at 1-844-DRUG-TIP.

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