Burlington, Vermont - A New York City police officer was arrested Monday in Queens, New York, for charges of distributing oxycodone in Vermont. The charges following a multi-agency probe, which included U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
Andre Clarke, 36, from Bronx, New York, was allegedly conspiring to distribute the drugs in Vermont from 2011 through June 2014. Clarke has been employed as a New York City police officer since 2002.
On July 7, 2015, a federal grand jury sitting in Burlington handed down a multi-count indictment, which charges Clarke, Michael Foreste, and Dannis Hackney with the Vermont oxycodone conspiracy. Foreste and Hackney are charged with additional drug trafficking and money laundering offenses.
According to prosecutors, Clarke, who lived in the Bronx and Long Island during the events in question, allegedly supplied oxycodone to Michael Foreste, of Valley Stream, New York. Foreste, in turn, supplied the pills to Dannis Hackney, of Burlington, Vermont, who sold them to Burlington-area addicts.
Foreste personally brought Hackney pills, and sometimes sent them via U.S. mail. Clarke, Foreste, and Hackney allegedly transferred drug proceeds using various bank accounts. Foreste and Hackney are also each charged with two counts of money laundering based on this banking activity. Foreste and Hackney have been in custody since their arrests in June 2014 and are awaiting trial.
The indictment charging Clarke with drug trafficking is an accusation only; he is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. If convicted on the oxycodone conspiracy charge, each defendant faces up to 20 years in prison. The money laundering counts carry also carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. The actual sentence, in the event of conviction, will be determined by the court with reference to the advisory federal sentencing guidelines and other statutory sentencing factors.
The investigation spanned more than a year and was a collaborative effort of HSI, FBI, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the New York City Police Internal Affairs Bureau.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Christina E. Nolan is handling the prosecution.