Feds: Thursday's drug bust in Massena, Ogdensburg, Gouverneur will be spun into international cartel probe
Above, law enforecement from around St. Lawrence County discuss 'Operation Gravy Train,' which netted more than 100 arrests. They include Sheriff Kevin Wells, Potsdam Chief Mark Murray, Massena Chief Adam Love, Gouverneur Chief Laurina Greenhill, Sen. Patty Ritchie and members of the St. Lawrence County sheriff's office. North Country Now photo by Andy Gardner.
By ANDY GARDNER
CANTON -- A Homeland Security Investigations official says the investigation that ended in Thursday's massive drug raid will lead to an overseas probe of large cartels.
“Our role will be to move this out globally … to our foreign attaché offices overseas," Kevin Kelly of HSI, the lead federal agency in the investigation, said at a Friday morning press conference at the St. Lawrence County Correctional Facility.
He said federal agents will “work a source and try to pin this on a cartel.”
The investigation, which authorities dubbed "Operation Gravy Train," led to over 100 arrests in St. Lawrence County, elsewhere in New York state and New Jersey.
“This investigation was well-received in Washington, D.C.," Kelly said.
A large chart on the wall showed a network of the 100 suspects, which included many from Massena, Ogdensburg and Gouverneur and their links to New York City-area suppliers.
Police chiefs and the county sheriff all praised the investigation and said they think it went well and makes the North Country a better place to live.
Massena police Chief Adam Love called this a "great day for the citizens of our region and the village of Massena."
"There's much work that still needs to be done and that effort is ongoing," Love said. "I want to warn any dealer in Massena currently, that plans to come to Massena ... when you least expect it we will be next we are coming after you."
Gouverneur Police Chief Laurina Greenhill said her small department benefitted from involvement with the St. Lawrence County Drug Task Force, which includes departments from all around the county.
"Our membership and participation with St. Lawrence County Drug Task Force … allows all the outside moving parts to help integrate and organize this is truly instrumental and helping our small village. I thank everyone involved and helped eradicate these dealers," Greenhill said. “You know there’s going to be more and we want to deter them.”
Sheriff Kevin Wells said this would not have been possible without a highly coordinated effort throughout the northeast United States.
He said there was a “large amount of communication and agencies involved."
“We all work together on a daily basis. There’s not an agency that doesn’t have daily contact with ICE and BEST (Border Enforcement Security Task Force)," Wells said.
"I couldn’t be prouder of men and women who put their safety on the line for the safety of our communities," Wells said. "They’re lengthy, they take way from many other things, they do have a cost factor."