Prude Death Investigation

Four men arrested in illegal narcotics trafficking ring bust

Local News
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Officials say the largest fentanyl pill mill in New York has been dismantled in the Elmira area. 

Four Southern Tier men are charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute fentanyl and U-47700, another type opioid.

In a press conference held at Elmira City Hall on Wednesday, Department of Justice officials announced the arrest of Robert Ian Thatcher, 29, Maximillian Sams, 30, Dwayne Banks, 29, all of Elmira and Carlito Rios Jr., 30, of Beaver Dams.

Officials say three of the four men are being held in federal prison in Rochester. One of the defendants was bailed out.

The criminal complaint  alleges the defendants were responsible for manufacturing fentanyl pills which were sold in New York, Pennsylvania and as far south as North Carolina.

The investigation, which spanned nearly a year, culminated in the search of five local residences in the Twin Tiers on Tuesday.

During their searches officers seized over 200 blue pills suspected to contain fentanyl and U-47700, seven firearms and ammunition, a bulletproof vest, multiple containers with false bottoms, and a 3-D printer believed to be used for manufacturing firearms.

Officials could not connect the pills seized to any recent overdose deaths, but they did say medical examinations and toxicology tests will be conducted to see if they could be connected.

The conspiracy charges carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and $1,000,000 fine.

In addition to the conspiracy charge, Thatcher and Sams are also charged with possession of firearms in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, which carries a mandatory minimum consecutive term of five years in prison up to life.

Banks is charged with possessing with intent to distribute, and distributing, furanyl fentanyl and U-47700, which also carries a maximum term of 20 years in prison.

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