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Saratoga Co. probe nets arrests, drugs, $264k

Saratoga Co. probe nets arrests, drugs, $264k

Arrests follow undercover investigation
Saratoga Co. probe nets arrests, drugs, $264k
Saratoga County Sheriff Mike Zurlo speaks Monday about a major drug trafficking organization in Saratoga County.
Photographer: Erica Miller/Gazette Photographer

BALLSTON SPA -- A lengthy investigation into a major drug trafficking organization in Saratoga County has resulted in multiple arrests and the seizure of 20 guns, large amounts of cocaine and marijuana and $264,000 in cash.

The Saratoga County Sheriff's Department, state police and federal Drug Enforcement Administration representatives announced the arrests Monday morning in Ballston Spa.

The investigation began in September after the Saratoga County Sheriff's Department learned of the ring. Investigators then infiltrated the organization with an undercover investigator and made several cocaine purchases.

The trail led sheriff's investigators beyond the borders of Saratoga County, prompting them to bring the state police Community Narcotics Enforcement Team and DEA task force into the probe.

"It's a major operation," Saratoga County Sheriff Michael Zurlo said at a Monday morning press conference. "I think we put a big dent into the trafficking of marijuana and cocaine in Saratoga County and beyond."

Zurlo said the operation was the largest he's seen in the county in his 40 years in law enforcement.

In all, investigators seized 2.5 kilograms of cocaine valued at $250,000; 20 pounds of packaged marijuana valued at $40,000; two handguns, 18 long guns, two vehicles and the $264,000 in cash.

Investigators also searched addresses in Westchester County, Albany, Gansevoort and Schuylerville on March 5 in connection with the drug ring.

Dennis E. Jones, 64, of 425 State Route 32, Schuylerville, faces one count each of first-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and first-degree criminal possession of marijuana, both felonies. He also faces a misdemeanor weapons count.

Officials believe Jones is a large cocaine distributor in the county, having operated for many years. A convicted felon, he was found in possession of multiple firearms and 1.5 kilograms of cocaine. He also had 20 pounds of marijuana, police said.

He was arrested March 5 and ordered held without bail.

Cleveland A. Francis, 44, of 348 South 9th Ave., Mount Vernon, faces one count of second-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance in connection with the ring.

Investigators believe Francis helped distribute cocaine throughout Saratoga County. He was arrested after a traffic stop in Stillwater on March 4 and was found with multiple ounces of cocaine. He was arraigned and sent to jail.

Kent D. Daniels, 54, of 1000 State Route 9, Gansevoort, faces one count of first-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance, a felony, and misdemeanor marijuana possession. Daniels allegedly distributed cocaine and marijuana in the county. He was arraigned and sent to jail.

Ahbdul Maldonado, 46, of 107 Kent St., Albany, was charged by Albany police with third- and fourth-degree criminal  possession of a controlled substance in connection with his alleged involvement in the drug ring.

Debra Comorski, 53, of 427 State Route 32, Schuylerville, was charged with four counts of fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon, a misdemeanor, and violation marijuana possession. She was found in possession of two long guns having been previously convicted of a felony. She was released to return to court later.

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