Some of the area's biggest makers of methamphetamine have been indicted on federal charges in a major drug bust, according to investigators.
24 indictments were announced Tuesday in Syracuse in connection with a methamphetamine distribution investigation in Madison, Oneida, and Oswego counties. 16 people have been arrested, five are already in custody, and three others remain at-large.
Those indicted are accused of buying pseudoephedrine pills during the last two to three years, according to investigators. Officials say those indicted received thousands of pills from individuals, known as "smurfs," who bought the pills to trade for the finished product, methamphetamine, with the meth "cooks." The process is dangerous as the chemicals are very volatile and explosive.
Pseudoephedrine is a common ingedient found in cough medicine.
U.S. Attorney Richard Hartnian said, "The dangers that the production of methamphetamine creates and presents are very disturbing. It creates a public safety threat, it can cause contamination of an area. It can cause significant harm to responders who come to the scene of one of these labs."
The arrests in the year long drug investigation were the result of work by the U.S. Department of Justice, the New York State Police, and law enforcement in Madison, Oneida, and Oswego counties. Oneida City Police Chief, David Meeker told reporters, "This multi-agency effort was designed to and accomplished making our community safer from the dangers of meth."
Click here for more on those charged with possessing or distributing pseudoephedrine with the knowledge that it will be used to illegally manufacture methamphetamine. Each of the suspects face up to 20 years in prison.
Those charged include:From Madison County : --Thomas M. Laplante, 45, of Durhamville --Theresa M. Person, 49, of Durhamville --Tracy L. Jennison, 39, of Chittenango --Theresa A. Strobeck, 30, of Blossvale --Frank A. Pennisi, 47, of Oneida --Todd C. Coleman, 42, of Blossvale --Leonard Seth Spadter, 32, of Canastota --Meagan N. Stimpson, 24, In State Custody --Ronald E. Mceathron, 36, In State Custody --Joshua A. Drummond, 24, In State Custody --Casey L. Spadter, 29, In Federal Custody From Oneida County: --Kenneth W. Mcguinness, 33, of Florence --Terry L. Ross, 51, of Florence --Laurie (Fuller) Burdick, 42, of Florence --Wanda Kingsley, 47, of Florence --Jessee L. Stevens, 24, of Annsville --Adam P. Wilson, 32, of Florence From Oswego County: --Cy Rayder, 28, of Williamstown --Andrew A. Rayder, 23, of Richland --Stephanie (Holt) Ostrander, 32, of Mexico --Timothy S. Peck, 34, of Fulton --Laurie Gervais, 47, of Parish --Anthony R. Battles, 23, of Parish --William J. Corcoran, 35, In State Custody