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Homeland Security

New York National Guard Counterdrug Task Force Members Part of Multi-City Drug Arrests

April 5, 2012

By Mr. Eric Durr, New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs

ALBANY, NY -- When 150 New York State Troopers, U.S. Marshalls and local city police officers rounded up 52 suspects in a massive multi-city drug raid in the early morning hours of Tuesday, March 27; five members of the New York National Guard Counterdrug Task Force gave themselves a silent pat on the back for a job well done.

The five Army and Air National Guard members are criminal analysts assigned to the New York State Attorney General's Office, the Rensselear County Drug Task Force, and the New York State Intelligence Center.

These Guardsmen take their military intelligence training, and put it to work helping police agencies stop the flow of drugs into New York's neighborhoods, said. Lt. Col. Richard Sloma, commander of New York's Counterdrug Task Force.

The March 27 arrests involved suspects in New York City, Albany, Troy, Saratoga Springs, Schenectady, Glens Falls, Newburgh, Poughkeepsie, Wawarsing, and Kerhonksen in New York and Bennington Vermont. Five of those indicted were members of a gang known as the Original Gangsta Killers in Albany, while two others were allied with the Bloods gang.

The investigation and early morning raids were coordinated by New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's Organized Crime Task Force.

The Counterdrug Task Force team provided network analysis and intelligence product development, along with database integration support to the Attorney General's Task Force during the six-month investigation phase and assisted in the command cell during the actual operation, Sloma said.

Because of concerns that drug gangs might target the Guardsmen or their families, the names of the analysts are not normally revealed to the public, Sloma said. The law enforcement officials they work with and their fellow Guardsmen on the Task Force know the role they played, and how they helped, he added.

The New York Counterdrug Task Force works to keep drugs from flooding communities in two ways.

The 90-member task force, composed of Army and Air National Guardsmen and women provides specialized military equipment to law enforcement, ranging from night vision goggles', to devices that can scan automobiles for concealed items, to helicopter support. Other members of the teams, like the criminal analysts, apply their military skills to domestic operations.

Finally, the task force also provides programs to schools and youth organizations that help kids build the confidence it takes to make a drug-free decision, Sloma said.



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