We trace the origin of last summer’s violence to a physical confrontation between two drug dealers that occurred back in November of 2016. From that point on, our city was witness to back-and-forth gun battles as these factions sought to even the score with each other. The toll was one man murdered, four adults and two children shot. From the inception the combatants refused to cooperate with police owing to a steadfast allegiance to their respective criminal enterprises. Prospective witnesses in many cases would not cooperate either, most likely because of their personal fear of retribution. Standard methods to stem the violence, such as increased patrols and tactical deployment, proved ineffective. Several shooting incidents happened with patrols visible on the same block. It became increasingly clear that in order to effectively address the situation we would have to thoroughly learn everything we could about the two rival gangs and what was at the root of their criminal network: Hudson’s cocaine and crack cocaine trade.
In the early summer of 2017, shortly after the May 1 shooting at 5th and State Streets, a task force made up of HPD, the New York State Police Special Investigations Unit, several federal agencies to include the FBI, ATF, and DEA, began to ramp up investigative acts and information sharing. Hundreds of hours of surveillance, data review, interviews, as well as laboratory and scientific analysis were poured into this case.
We are today informing you as to the progress of our efforts, “Operation Falling Stars,” as we continue to move forward and prosecute those responsible for so much turmoil in our small city.
Arrested today by teams from HPD, SIU, and the FBI on federal charges of Narcotics Trafficking were:
ARCHIE EVANS, aka ARCHIE WRIGHT, aka “A.J.,” 41 yrs old, of Hill St., Hudson NY
STEVEN M. RICHARDSON, aka “Face,” 35 yrs old, of Lidia Lane, Stuyvesant NY
WILLIAM C. MORRISON, aka “Whoodie,” 31 yrs old, of North 3rd St, Hudson, NY
JULAN E. MORRISON, aka “Wheezie,” 36 yrs old of North 3rd St, Hudson, NY
BRYCE D. HALLBACK, 32 yrs old, of North 3rd St, Hudson, NY--FUGITIVE FROM JUSTICE--REMAINS AT LARGE. SHOULD BE CONSIDERED ARMED AND DANGEROUS.
The investigation has uncovered a drug distribution network that we are preparing to present in court. These charges are severe, with some of the defendants looking at anywhere from 10 yrs in prison to a life sentences. We have information that this group may have been distributing over one kilogram of powder cocaine weekly in this area. Defendants were placed in the Rensselaer County Jail pending arraignment today in Federal District Court.
Information is currently being developed that directly correlates to the shooting incidents in Hudson, and further information about these cases will be forthcoming. We are working closely with District Attorney Paul Czajka and his office as we advance our investigation.
It was evident that our Department did not have the resources to carry out an investigation of this scope without the support of the New York State Police. It is important to note that our Department, throughout all this, still maintained its current caseload and also worked concurrently with the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office on Operation “Blue Hammer,” which was very successful. The members of HPD were called upon to work many hours. The New York State Police contributed a small army of support to build a very impressive body of evidence. As we present our case in court, the expansive effort will become evident. Technicians, analysts, forensic scientists, undercover officers, from the Troopers and federal agencies were all utilized.
Our citizens and civic leaders should also be commended for their patience and trust that our Department was giving a full effort in this matter. There is much more work to be done and we will continue to do so. We understand the epidemic of opioid abuse. It is important to note that none of the defendants are addicts. The common excuse that they were only “supporting their own habits” does not apply here. This was their business, with no regard to the destruction they enabled. I am always approached by citizens who are concerned about the open drug dealing they witness outside their windows. We must keep the pressure on the drug dealers until we reach that point where it is easier to attain help and treatment than it is to buy drugs in our city. This operation smashed the largest drug distribution network in this city. While these operations are more common in larger places like Albany or Poughkeepsie, I think there will be a greater positive impact found here in our small city.Photographs of those arrested can be viewed on the 98.5 The Cat Facebook page.
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