New York, NY - May 21, 2015 - Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced the guilty pleas of two members of a major heroin distribution ring based in New York State. Brian Bacon, who called himself “The Prime Minster,” and Jerome Turnbough were indicted earlier this year following “Operation Iron Horse,” a joint investigation with the New York State Police that identified this network as using Metro North trains and Greyhound buses to distribute heroin from New York City across state and county lines into Orange, Sullivan, and Nassau Counties, as well as Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Eleven more individuals were indicted as part of this investigation.
“These defendants led a major heroin ring in not only transporting drugs across our state on public transportation, but also in bringing drugs into New York from other states,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “As we continue root out heroin abuse plaguing communities nationwide, we must send a clear message that those who fuel this epidemic will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. We will continue to root out anyone who seeks to pollute our streets with these dangerous drugs.”
Bacon, 52, of the Bronx, pleaded guilty today to Operating as a Major Trafficker, a class A felony, and will be sentenced to 12 years in prison. Jermone Turnbough, 55, of Newburgh, N.Y. pleaded guilty to Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the Second Degree, a class A felony, and will be sentenced to six years in prison. Both defendants pleaded guilty in Orange County Court before Judge Jeffrey G. Berry, and both will be sentenced on July 6.
As outlined in Attorney General’s indictment, evidence gathered by state investigators showed that Bacon, was the alleged kingpin behind a major heroin distribution network based in New York State. This network allegedly stretched from Harlem and the Bronx, where Bacon lived and worked, to Nassau, Orange, and Sullivan Counties in New York and Allegheny County in Pennsylvania.
As detailed in the indictment, Bacon had two suppliers: an as-yet unidentified male and Raymos Bertrand. Jerome Turnbough was one of the main resellers supplied by Bacon, allegedly along with Roderick Copeland, from upper Manhattan; Jamaul Aziz, who currently resides in Sullivan County, New York; and Kenneth Parris, from Uniondale.
Bacon sold up to a kilogram of heroin per month with alleged assistance from his son, Tamar Dillard, and his girlfriend, Donna Marie Haggans, who were integral to the packaging and delivery of the heroin to customers and resellers, as well as the handling of money. Bacon was also allegedly assisted by Wallace Walker – the self-styled “quality control officer” – who distributed heroin to third parties, who would test and then rate the quality, thereby permitting Bacon to gauge how much he could “cut” the heroin and the price he should charge.
As alleged, Bacon regularly sent his son, Dillard, to take the Metro-North train from the 125th Street station in Harlem to deliver drugs to Turnbough in Newburgh. Turnbough also allegedly traveled by train to New York City, where he would buy heroin to take back up to Newburgh.
Another one of the main resellers, Roderick Copeland, allegedly acquired heroin from Bacon every two weeks and gave it to a co-conspirator, William Thomas, who regularly traveled by bus between the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan and Pittsburgh, where the heroin was then distributed.
Eleven more defendants were charged with Bacon and Turnbough as part of “Operation Iron Horse.” The other defendants are:
- DEVONNA BARRERAS, a.k.a. Creechbarreras, 22, Newburgh, NY
- TAMAR DILLARD, a.k.a. Young Buck, 38, Bronx, NY
- KENNETH PARRIS, 42, Uniondale, NY
- JAMAUL AZIZ, 35, Monticello, NY
- RODERICK COPELAND, 51, Manhattan, NY
- DONNA MARIE HAGGANS, 49, Bronx, NY
- WALLACE WALKER, 51, Bronx, NY
- WILLIAM THOMAS, JR., Pittsburgh, PA
- EDDIE L. CULLINS, 44, Newburgh, NY
- GILBERT MAXI, 22, Monticello, NY
- RAYMOS BERTRAND, 43, Bronx, NY
The charges against the remaining defendants are accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in a court of law.
The investigation was conducted by NYSP-CNET as well as NYAG-OCTF Investigators Brad Farrell and Edwin Margenat, Supervising Investigator Kevin McCann, and Deputy Chief Christopher Vasta.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Deputy Attorney General Cristina A. Villani. The Organized Crime Task Force is led by Deputy Attorney General Peri Alyse Kadanoff. The Executive Deputy Attorney General for Criminal Prosecutions is Kelly Donovan.