Three men, one accused of being the leader of a massive organization that flooded the Capital Region with drugs, were convicted of drug-related charges Monday, authorities said.
The leader of the organization, identified as Guy Anderson, 40, now faces a mandatory life sentence on his conviction for operating as a major drug trafficker, the state Attorney General’s Office said in a release.
Also convicted Monday were Jamel Pearson, 36, and Michael Williams, 27. Pearson also faces a life sentence, while Williams faces up to 70 years in prison.
The three were convicted after a 12-week trial in Albany County Court. Prosecutors from the Attorney General’s Office alleged they were major players in a drug organization that included the Capital Region, spanning from Rockland County to Warren County. The organization, authorities have said, flooded the region, including Albany, Schenectady and Saratoga counties, with cocaine, heroin and illegal prescription medications.
The three convicted Monday were among 42 people arrested in March 2012 in an operation authorities dubbed Operation OGK. Those arrested included five members of the Albany-based Original Gangsta Killas, or OGK, street gang, and three were members of the Bloods. Ten others already in custody were also charged.
Pearson was identified as a member of the Original Gangsta Killas, while Williams was a member of the Bloods, officials said.
The trial included evidence that Anderson, Pearson and Williams were leaders of the conspiracy and that they conspired to transport large amounts of cocaine, heroin and pills into the Capital Region, where it was broken down and distributed throughout the area and into Vermont.
Authorities used electronic and visual surveillance as well as cellphone records to help build the cases.
Anderson was convicted of the major trafficking count, second-degree conspiracy and 15 other counts. Pearson was convicted of five counts of second-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and six other counts. Williams was convicted of second-degree conspiracy and other counts.
Most of the others charged previously pleaded guilty to related charges, officials said.
The convictions come after an 18-month investigation by the Attorney General’s Organized Crime Task Force, state police and Albany Police Department.
There were also at least 27 incidents of gunfire associated with the suspects in the case, authorities have said. Two involved police and three resulted in fatalities, authorities have said. Among the dead was one of the subjects of the investigation, Richard Gibbs. He was killed in Albany’s South End in November 2011 by rival gang members.
“Some New York neighborhoods are being destroyed by drugs,” Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a statement Tuesday. “My office, with the assistance and collaboration of other law enforcement, is working to keep our streets safer and convict drug traffickers who plague our communities.”