The leader of a Hudson Valley cocaine ring pleaded guilty to leading an organization that made over $75,000 in drug sales over the past year.

In Orange County Court, 56-year-old Anthony J. Spagnola of Cuddebackville pleaded guilty to the felony charge of operating as a major trafficker.

According to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, Spagnola admitted he was the director of a controlled substance organization that sold cocaine throughout Orange County and surrounding areas.

In court, Spagnola said he had at least four people who worked for him selling cocaine in the local area.

The guilty plea follows a seven-month investigation into drug sales in Orange County called “Operation Chopper.” On April 28, 2016, The New York State Police Special Investigations Unit, in conjunction with the Orange County District Attorney’s Office and the Sussex County Prosecutor’s Office, made over 20 arrests and seized two kilos of cocaine.

In addition to exposing the drug ring, the “Operation Chopper” investigation also revealed crimes committed by “outlaw motorcycle clubs,” officials say.

“Narcotics is destroying the fabric of our society and killing our residents and must be fought at every level,” District Attorney David M. Hoovler stated in the press release. “It is only through coordinated law enforcement actions such as 'Operation Chopper' that law enforcement is able to pursue those higher level drug dealers and craftier offenders who attempt to insulate themselves from criminal liability by dealing drugs through intermediaries.”

The District Attorney’s Office will recommend 10 years in prison when Spagnola is sentenced on Nov. 21.

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