Former Syracuse Common Council candidate admits role in 'Molly' drug trafficking ring

A former Syracuse Common Council candidate and three others have admitted their role in a drug trafficking ring.

54-year-old Bill Harper, who unsuccessfully ran twice for Common Council, was among those who pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute a controlled substance known as "Molly." The drug is referred to on the streets as bath salts. Harper also admitted to money laundering, a federal felony. Harper admits he wired $2,700 from a Bank of America account in the name of Orange Line Gallery, Ltd. to CEC Limited in Shanghai, China to pay for a quantity of "Molly."

The case involves a large scale drug trafficking conspiracy based in Central New York that involved 22 co-conspirators located in New York, California, Texas, Virginia and the Peoples Republic of China.

45-year-old Charles Demott Jr., of Liverpool, 45-year-old Mary Ootgambuzza, of East Syracuse, and 33-year-old Jon Radway, of Pompey, also admitted to conspiring to distribute "Molly." The suspects all face up to 20 years in prison, up to a $1 million fine and at least 3 years of supervised release when they're sentenced in August.

Authorities are still searching for one defendant, Lei Zhang a.k.a. Eric Chang.

The investigation, which included wiretaps, revealed that the "Molly" trafficking organization was responsible for distributing more than 100 kilograms of the drug from January 2010 through April 2011. The "Molly," believed to be manufactured in factories in China, was shipped to distributors in the Syracuse area, as well as other parts of the country.