Twelve people are accused of running a drug trafficking operation that "flooded" the Hudson Valley and Capital Region with drugs.

On Wednesday, 12 people were indicted following a year-long investigation into a drug trafficking organization out of New Paltz in Ulster County, District Attorney David J. Clegg announced.

The group trafficked more than $1 million worth of cocaine and thousands of pills throughout Ulster, Dutchess, and Saratoga counties, officials say. They also allegedly illegally possessed guns, including assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

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“This is one of the largest drug and gun takedowns in the history of Ulster County. The trafficking of illegal narcotic drugs and the possession of deadly firearms will not be tolerated in our county," District Attorney David J. Clegg stated.

District Attorney David J. Clegg's Office
District Attorney David J. Clegg's Office

Two sealed indictments charging twelve peopled from Ulster, Dutchess and Saratoga counties were unsealed in Ulster County Court. Those charged include:

  • Christopher Pulichene, 39, of New Paltz, New York
  • Ralph Banks, Jr., 50, of Saugerties, New York
  • Thomas Colon, 60, of Saugerties, New York
  • Alton Countryman, 35, of Kingston, New York
  • Thekla Countryman, 35, Kingston, New York
  • Robert Curry, 42, of Albany, New York
  • Kevin Drake, Jr., 32, of Kingston, New York
  • Julia Eaton, 34, of Gansevoort, New York
  • Joshua Guldy, 21, of Kingston, New York
  • Nicholas Lasusa, 31, of Saugerties, New York
  • Zachary Vanvlack, 34, of Wappingers Falls, New York
  • Devyn Wolny, 24, of New Paltz, New York

Pulichene of New Paltz was charged with the top count of operating as a major trafficker, a class AI felony offense carrying a maximum sentence of up to life in prison.


During the course of the 11-month joint investigation, officials allege they recovered over 10 kilograms of cocaine, thousands of pressed pills containing heroin and methamphetamines, one fully automatic assault rifle, an FN SCAR assault rifle, an FN PS90 assault weapon, numerous high-capacity magazines and over $100,000 in United States Currency.

“Getting these drugs and weapons off the street and these heinous individuals behind bars is a tremendous step towards victory in our ongoing fight against opioids and gun violence,” said Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro.

Dutchess County
Dutchess County

According to the New York State Attorney General's Office, the investigation led to the recovery of:

  • 11 kilograms of cocaine, with an approximate street value of $1.2 million;
  • 15,000 methamphetamine pills, disguised as Adderall pills, with an approximate street value of $100,000;
  • 5,000 artificial Xanax pills, with an approximate street value of $50,000;
  • 750 heroin pills, disguised as oxycodone, with an approximate street value of $20,000;
  • 39 firearms, including four assault weapons;
  • 40 high-capacity magazines;
  • Hundreds of rounds of ammunition;
  • $120,000 in cash.

The investigation called “Operation GTL” was spearheaded by the New York State Attorney General's Office.

Getty Images
Getty Images

"Any drug operation that floods our streets with heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine endangers New Yorkers. But this operation was especially dangerous because they sold drugs that were intentionally disguised as prescription pills and were heavily armed with assault weapons and other firearms," New York Attorney General Letitia James said.

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