Earlier this morning, New York State Police (NYSP), City of Newburgh Police, and the Orange County District Attorney’s Office announced that 15 people—the majority of them from Newburgh, with one residing as far away as Howard Beach—had been arrested in connection with a 10-month-long drug-trafficking investigation that police say was dubbed “Operation Punch Out.” While rounding up the accused (charges range from Conspiracy to Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance), police seized 1,000 bags of heroin, 45 grams of loose heroin, 15 grams of cocaine, two handguns, and $9,000 cash.
Punch Out gained momentum last August, when NYSP’s Community Narcotics Enforcement Team (CNET) and Newburgh PD began receiving information in regards to large quantities of heroin being sold both in Newburgh and in surrounding towns and counties. The effort culminated this past Tuesday, as numerous area police and special-task forces executed search warrants and closed in.
According to the Daily Freeman, 36-year-old Earl Melvin of Newburgh has allegedly been operating as one of the city’s foremost narcotics distributors. The remaining 14 accused include a 29-year-old homeless woman and 65-year-old Newburgh man, though Newburgh PD Administrative Lieutenant Richard Carrion tells Hudson Valley that such a wide spectrum of backgrounds isn’t uncommon in these kinds of sweeping arrests.
“When you’re dealing with street level narcotics,” he says, “it isn’t unusual for an age range like this. It can even go younger.”
For more information on those arrested in the operation, visit NYSP’s website.