Drug Task Force Dissolves Opioid Drug Ring in New York

By Miguel Moreno

NEW YORK—The state attorney general announced a battle won amid the nation’s opioid epidemic on May 2.

A drug task force, led by Attorney General Leticia James, and the DEA dissolved a large oxycodone drug ring operating in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Westchester County, and Connecticut. Twenty-eight people were arrested, including a doctor who traded prescriptions for money.

“This network of oxycodone dealers and resellers were selling tens of thousands of prescription oxycodone pills to countless customers, every day,” James said at the May 2 press conference.

Oxycodone evidence
Oxycodone. Evidence on display at the Attorney General Letitia James’s announcement in Manhattan, New York, on May 2, 2019. (Miguel Moreno)

James was accompanied by members of law enforcement at the announcement. And beside them, evidence from the case was on display.

“Operation Oxy-Concourse” was a ten-month investigation that began with a doctor from Flushing.

“Ms. Elba Sanchez acquired her own subscriptions from Dr. Dante Cubangbang—a doctor who is facing federal charges for illegally distributing oxycodone to patients, some of whom overdosed, or died,” James said.

The doctor would sell prescriptions to Sanchez for about $10 a pill. From there, Sanchez would feed the drug ring.

Information of oxycodone drug ring investigation
Board with information of the oxycodone drug ring investigation on display at Attorney General Letitia James’s announcement in Manhattan, New York, on May 2, 2019. (Miguel Moreno/NTD News)

Ringleader Deals in ‘Footballs’

The drug ring revolved around Wilkins Almonte, who bought his “footballs” from Sanchez.

Other code names for oxycodone used by the conspirators included “yellows,” “pinks,” and “blues,” according to a press release. Colors indicated dosages, and numbers were used to mean milligrams.

When they were arrested, the DEA seized about 1,200 pills, and over 23,000 pills were sold during the investigation, valued at $2 million dollars on the street.

Two separate indictments were made against the conspirators. The first indictment charged 21 people with conspiracy, felony criminal sale, and criminal possession of a controlled substance.

The rest were charged in a second indictment, which included Sanchez. This indictment focused on people who sold oxycodone prescriptions to Sanchez.

“And it is yet another example of our commitment to tackling the opioid crisis that is devastating families throughout state,” James said.

The suspects face up to 25 years in prison.

Podium
Podium at Attorney General Letitia James’s announcement in Manhattan, New York, on May 2, 2019. (Miguel Moreno/NTD News)