Major Narcotics Ring Busted, Four Local Men Arrested

ELMIRA, N.Y. (18 NEWS) - On Wednesday officials from both local and federal law-enforcement agencies said the largest fentanyl pill mill in New York had been dismantled. After almost a year of investigating, officials executed search warrants at five locations in the Twin Tiers on Tuesday.

In their searches officials seized over 200 fentanyl pills, seven firearms with ammunition, multiple containers with false bottoms, and a 3-D printer.

"Elmira is a relatively small area within New York State, but this is a very significant case," Resident Agent in Charge for the Drug Enforcement Administration in Rochester Matthew Ramarge said. "The distribution, the amount of pills of these guys were distributing is phenomenal."

Four local men were arrested and charged by criminal complaint; Robert Thatcher, 29, Maximillian Sams, 30 and Dwayne Banks, 29, all of Elmira and 30-year-old Carlito Rios Jr., 30, of Beaver Dams are each charged with Conspiracy to Possess with Intent to Distribute Quantities of Furanylfentanyl and U-47700, both Schedule 1 controlled substances.

"This was a pretty sophisticated organization," Ramarge said. "They had crossed state lines, operating out of Pennsylvania and New York across the New York border to avoid detection of law-enforcement. They had set up a 3-D printing press to manufacture weapons, one of which was seized in the raid."

The defendants were charged by criminal complaint with operating an illegal narcotics trafficking ring in the Elmira area. Acting U.S. Attorney for the Western District of N.Y. James P. Kennedy Jr. said the four men are responsible for manufacturing fentanyl pills sold in New York, Pennsylvania and as far as North Carolina. Officials also said they'll be cooperating with international law-enforcement as they continue to investigate fentanyl trafficking.

"We will be working with our attaché offices in other countries and other domestic offices to pursue and move this conspiracy out, not just in Elmira but move it out nationally and globally as well," Deputy Special Agent in Charge for Homeland Security Investigations Kevin Kelly said.

As the investigation continues more charges could be filed.

"If we can show that any of the drugs which were distributed by these for individuals resulted in the death of anybody then we can charge that federally as a death results case," Acting U.S. Attorney for Western N.Y. District James P. Kennedy Jr. said.

While officials were able to get some of the drugs and dealers off the street, they said community involvement is still paramount.

"We need the community to become part of our team in report things and work with us so that we can work together to come to a resolution," Elmira Police Chief Joseph Kane said.

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