19 people arrested in “Operation Climate Change,” Steuben County’s first major drug bust since beginning of the pandemic

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HORNELL, N.Y. (WETM) – The Steuben County District Attorney’s Office and the Hornell City Police Department announced 19 arrests made during “Operation Climate Change.”

Hornell Police Chief Theodore Murray announced that arrests were made around 6 a.m. across Hornell by New York State Police, Hornell Police, and the Steuben County Sheriff’s Office. Approximately 40 officers and two K9 units were involved in the operation that also uncovered a substantial amount of cocaine.

Due to bail reform laws, Murray says most of those arrested will be released. A majority of the felonies announced related to the sale or possession of a controlled substance, while others included rape, manslaughter, and tampering with evidence. Murray says that the various felonies were “directly related to illicit drug offenses” in Hornell.

“All of the persons arrested today will be released following their arraignment,” Chief Murray said.

Steuben County District Attorney Brooks Baker says this was the county’s first major drug bust since the COVID-19 pandemic began. He added that the drugs were not being produced in the community but rather being brought in from cities such as Elmira, Rochester, and New York City.

Baker added the COVID-19 pandemic contributed to the rise in drug usage and illegal drug sales in the county, which mirrors national trends.

“The quantity of the drugs we are seeing, the level of sales, have gone up dramatically since the pandemic began,” Baker continued.

Chief Murray says the name “Operation Climate Change” was selected due to the change needed due to the number of dangerous illegal drugs in the community, the rise in overdoses and addiction in the community, and the bail reform law.

This year the Hornell Police Department has already administered 60 doses of NARCAN, which is used by law enforcement to attempt to revive someone suffering from an overdose.

“This must change,” said Murray. “The persons arrested today are the lucky ones. They have a chance to change their climate. Many will not have this opportunity.”

Baker said that the amount of NARCAN being administered just in Hornell is “very scary.”

“The idea that we’re deploying Narcan more than ten times a month in the police department alone is just flat out scary,” Baker added.

Murray added that on Thursday morning after the arrests were made, someone came in asking for help recovering from drug addiction.

Nineteen mugshots were posted at the press conference along with samples of evidence. Murray says there are still some people the police are attempting to locate as part of this operation.

  • Jason Barker of Hornell: Crimial Possession of a Controlled Substance 5th, Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance 5th
  • Calvin Buck of Hornell: Crimial Possession of a Controlled Substance 5th, Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance 4th, Crimial Possession of a Controlled Substance 3rd, Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance 3rd
  • Dimitria Battle of Hornell: Crimial Possession of a Controlled Substance 3rd, Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance 3rd
  • Kristy Knowlton of Hornell: Crimial Possession of a Controlled Substance 3rd, Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance 3rd
  • Amber Hollar of Hornell: Crimial Possession of a Controlled Substance 3rd, Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance 3rd
  • James Manhart of Hornell: Crimial Possession of a Controlled Substance 3rd, Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance 3rd
  • Curtis Yeoman of Nunda: Crimial Possession of a Controlled Substance 5th, Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance 5th
  • Allan Sullivan of Bath: Crimial Possession of a Controlled Substance 5th, Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance 5th
  • Gordon Cassidy Jr of Hornell: 2 counts of Crimial Possession of a Controlled Substance 5th, 2 counts of Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance 5th, Crimial Possession of a Controlled Substance 3rd, Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance 3rd
  • Sean Battle of Hornell: 2 counts of Crimial Possession of a Controlled Substance 3rd, 2 counts of Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance 3rd, 2 counts of Rape 1st, unlawfun imprisonment 2nd
  • Mark Drew of Hornell: Crimial Possession of a Controlled Substance 3rd, Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance 3rd
  • Dakota Hurlburt of Hornell: Crimial Possession of a Controlled Substance 3rd, Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance 3rd
  • Javan Jamison of Hornell: Crimial Possession of a Controlled Substance 3rd, Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance 3rd (2 counts each)
  • Robert Seibert of Hornell: Crimial Possession of a Controlled Substance 3rd, Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance 3rd
  • Latoya Zeh of Hornell: Crimial Possession of a Controlled Substance 3rd, Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance 3rd
  • Patricia Thompson of Hornell: Crimial Possession of a Controlled Substance 5th, Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance 5th
  • Naomi Dimond (AKA Naomi Carreon) of Hornell: Crimial Possession of a Controlled Substance 3rd, 2 counts of Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance 3rd, Manslaughter 2nd, False Written Statement, Tampering with Physical Evidence
  • Joshua Dibble of Hornell: 2 counts of Grand Larceny 4th, Tampering with Physical Evidence
  • Collin Gallese of Arkport: 2 counts of Crimial Possession of a Controlled Substance 3rd

Chief Murray says that all of those arrested were offered drug treatment and counseling and that CASA Trinity has offered similar services.

“We hope that some will take advantage of the drug treatment service that we have offered and we will continue to enforce the laws to the best of our ability regardless of this climate change.”

Earlier this morning while the operation was in progress, one Hornell resident came to the department after hearing about the program. Chief Murray hopes more people will use this rehabilitation program.

“We were doing this operation and a young man came through the door and said hey listen I heard you guys are arresting people on drugs. I have a drug problem. Do you have anybody I can talk to?” Baker concluded.

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