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Four Indictments Charge 78 People with 355 Crimes In Major CNY Drug Bust

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Attorney General Letitia James is surrounded by law enforcement and elected officials as she announces the four indictments charging 78 people with 355 crimes.

More than 70 people from Onondaga, Madison, and Oswego counties face upwards of 350 charges for their alleged involvement in two large drug networks that distributed cocaine and heroin across the state. Attorney General Letitia James stopped in Syracuse Wednesday to announce the four indictments. One of them targets what she calls the Flores group, led by 41-year-old Hector Flores.

"Flores employed a network of 50 people who sources and sold cocaine and heroin mixed with fentanyl throughout Onondaga, Oswego, Cortland, Westchester, New York, and Bronx counties. Flores was a narcotics supplier for numerous Onondaga County drug dealers."

Flores is being charged with operating as a Major Trafficker, which carries a mandatory life sentence in state prison. Operation Raw Materials lasted two years, and involved 15 federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies. The investigation culminated with raids carried out Wednesday morning. Madison County Sheriff Todd Hood calls it a model of teamwork.

"Hundreds of cops came together from all over the state, they got out there and went after these people. The streets of Central New York, all the way down to New York City and Florida are going to be safer because some of these people are taken off the streets."

In all, 32 kilograms (70 lbs.) of cocaine, 117 grams of heroin mixed with fentanyl, 15 guns, including 9 ghost guns, and nearly a half million dollars in cash were seized. Assemblymember Pam Hunter seemed overwhelmed by the spectacle of the drugs and guns on the tables in front of her.

"This is a lot of drugs here today," she said with a big sigh. "I was thinking that someone's son or daughter won't die today because of these drugs that are here. Someone's son or daughter won't be killed by one of these firearms today."

The total seizures have a street value of nearly $2 million. In addition to the central new York defendants, the indictments also charge others from Westchester, Monroe, and Bronx Counties, as well as Florida.

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A closer look at the volume of drugs seized by Operation Raw Materials.