Her message to Charles Fuller during their conversation in late January couldn’t be any clearer: If he helped her safely move cocaine up the Northway, she could make him a lot of money.
For each kilogram of cocaine she moved safely between Albany and Glens Falls, Fuller could earn $4,000 in cash. The 24-year veteran Saratoga County sheriff’s deputy and respected union president would serve as protection on those trips, she said — just in case something goes awry.
“I know you work a lot,” she told Fuller during a recorded conversation on Jan. 24. “It would be like a once-a-week thing. I would be in the car holding the [expletive]. You are just there to ensure my safety.”
Fuller, who was off-duty, was armed with a KelTec P-3 AT .380 caliber pistol as he drove the woman in his 2008 Infinity G-35, helping her mule what he thought to be 250 grams of cocaine on Feb. 19. Afterward, she asked him where to put the payment of $1,000 in cash, to which Fuller replied bluntly.
“In my greedy little hand,” he was recorded saying.
Only the cocaine the woman was carrying turned out to be fake, and she was actually a federal informant recording their conversations as they traveled between the two cities.
Fuller, 46, of Corinth, admitted Wednesday he accepted $5,000 to drive a woman he believed to be trafficking large volumes of cocaine through the Capital Region. He now faces at least five years in federal prison when he is sentenced Dec. 18.
Fuller remains free on $25,000 bail while he awaits sentencing. Assistant U.S. Attorney Dan Hanlon would not comment on the case outside of what was included in Fuller’s plea agreement.
Fuller’s second run with the woman on Feb. 27 earned him $4,000 in cash and involved her transporting what he thought to be a full kilogram of cocaine. Again, he kept the small pistol in his vehicle as he drove her and watched her remove the mock kilogram from a bag.
The woman, however, had felony drug charges pending in Warren County and was cooperating in an effort to reduce her sentence. Federal investigators meticulously recorded Fuller’s exchanges with the woman in order to build a case against him.
Fuller was arrested at the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Office in Milton in late February following a federal investigation. He was arraigned on a felony charge of attempting to aid and abet the possession with intent to distribute 500 grams or more of cocaine in March.
Stephen Coffey, Fuller’s attorney, initially claimed federal prosecutors pressured the woman into making the trips with Fuller and that their influence could pose “significant issues” in the case. On Wednesday, he declined to comment on the plea.
Fuller, who was suspended without pay following his arrest, earned $68,205 as a deputy. He started as a dispatcher with the department and worked his way up to the road patrol.
Fuller resigned from the sheriff’s department in April and was also taken off the roster at the Ballston Spa Police Department, where he served as a part-time officer. Sheriff Michael Zurlo said Fuller’s plea will bring closure to a troubling chapter for his department.
“We aren’t going to tolerate that type of conduct,” he said following the plea. “The events today and the events coming up at sentencing will put an end to his chapter at the department.”