PLATTSBURGH — Ten people, including a state correction officer, have been indicted for their alleged involvement in a heroin distribution ring in the Plattsburgh area.
From June 2016 through May 2017, the defendants transported the opioid from Annapolis, Md., and Schenectady and sold it here, the indictments and criminal complaints say.
Two indictments charge the following with conspiracy to distribute heroin:
• Kyle Touchstone, 29, of Plattsburgh.
• Melissa Kusalonis (a.k.a. “Mel” and “Liss”), 35, of Plattsburgh.
• Jimolo Coates (a.k.a. “Lo,” “Marlo” and “Brodie”), 24, of Annapolis, Md.
• Tynaejah Thompson (a.k.a. “Naee”), 19, of Annapolis, Md.
• Kiara Scott, 28, of Annapolis, Md.
• Anthony DeFilippo (a.k.a “Flip”), 35, of Schenectady.
• Charles Adams (a.k.a. “Chuck”), 31, of Peru.
• Travynn Ippolito (a.k.a “Trav”) 29, of Plattsburgh.
• Luke Kiroy, 32, of Saranac.
• Danielle Conners, 31, of Plattsburgh.
FACING HARD TIME
Kiroy was working at Clinton Correctional in Dannemora before his arrest on June 20, according to a U.S. Department of Justice press release.
He has been employed with the State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision since July 2007, and his last known salary was $59,821 per year, DOCCS said.
In June, Kiroy was suspended without pay.
He, DeFilippo, Ippolito, Conners and Scott could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted.
Touchstone and Coates face 10 years to life in prison if convicted, the release said.
Kusalonis, Thompson and Adams could each get five to 40 years in prison.
Acting U.S. Attorney Grant C. Jaquith, Special Agent in Charge James J. Hunt of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s New York Division and Clinton County Sheriff David Favro announced the indictments.
Heroin’s deadly effects are felt in local communities, Jaquith said, but the groups who profit from spreading it are often found elsewhere.
“As this case illustrates, we are committed to collaboration with federal, state and local law-enforcement agencies to combat the scourge of heroin in our area and to pursue and dismantle drug trafficking organizations wherever they may be found.”
“Heroin has been a plague to public health, causing record numbers of overdoses in New York state,” Hunt said.
“This investigation highlights law enforcement’s commitment to dismantling opioid trafficking organizations responsible for fueling addiction and death in neighborhoods across the nation.”
Favro said the result of the lengthy investigation “will remove elements from our community that have proven to be life-threatening.
“Let the message resonate to all that the Clinton County sheriff will continue to partner with local, state and federal agencies to provide a safe and healthy community for our residents and guests.”
The indictments followed an investigation by the DEA Task Force in Plattsburgh.
That group comprises law-enforcement officers from the DEA, Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Border Patrol, State Police, the Clinton County Sheriff’s Office, the Essex County Sheriff’s Office and Plattsburgh City Police.
DOCCS also assisted in the investigation.
Assistant U.S. attorneys Cyrus P.W. Rieck and Katherine Kopita are prosecuting the case.
Touchstone, Ippolito and DeFilippo have all served time in state prisons.
In December 2012, Touchstone was one of 26 people arrested over one week on drug charges, the Press-Republican reported then.
He was charged with two counts each of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, allegedly for oxycodone sales.
Touchstone later pleaded guilty to one count of criminal possession and was sentenced to three years in prison, two years of post-release supervision and shock incarceration directive.
He entered DOCCS custody on June 6, 2015, and was most recently released from Willard Drug Treatment Campus in Seneca County on Oct. 6, 2015, according to the DOCCS inmate lookup.
Touchstone was discharged from parole supervision on Dec. 2, 2016.
DeFilippo was convicted of third-degree burglary in Schenectady County and entered DOCCS custody on Nov. 20, 2009, the lookup said.
He was last released from Watertown Correctional Facility on April 20, 2016, and discharged from parole on Oct. 20, 2016.
Ippolito is currently serving time for two counts of attempted third-degree grand larceny out of Franklin County.
He currently resides at Hale Creek Alcohol Substance Abuse Comprehensive Treatment Center in Johnstown, where his earliest release date is set for Aug. 15.
Kusalonis has faced federal charges before.
She was one of 13 people arrested in connection with an international marijuana-smuggling operation, the Press-Republican reported in January 2013.
Federal authorities charged her with conspiracy to launder monetary instruments.
Touchstone, Kusalonis and DeFilippo were in custody at Clinton County Jail Thursday.
According to online court records, Thompson, Scott, Kiroy and Conners were released.
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