33 charged in Orange County's largest illegal weapons and cocaine investigation

Six months after the investigation first began, local, state and federal law enforcement officials said they charged 33 people in connection to a massive illegal weapons and drugs trafficking ring.

Jonathan Gordon

May 29, 2024, 7:42 PM

Updated 18 days ago

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Six months after the investigation first began, local, state and federal law enforcement officials said they charged 33 people in connection to a massive illegal weapons and drugs trafficking ring.
Orange County District Attorney David Hoovler said it was the largest gun trafficking case and biggest cocaine haul in Orange County history.
"We have never seen this level of sophistication and we've never seen this level of structuring," he said.
Police arrested 26 people, two more are pending extradition from other states and one is in the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Police are asking for the public's help locating four more suspects.
A total of 39 different agencies were involved in the probe, code-named "Hot Lunch," because it centered around a food truck parked outside the Newburgh City Courthouse.
"It sold food, it sold guns and it sold cocaine," Hoover said.
According to law enforcement, William Pulley was the source of the illegal guns in Orange County from his home in North Carolina. Pulley allegedly trafficked the weapons to two men locally, Andre Smith and Kirk Buckley. The pair reportedly sold the guns to Kirkland Salmon, who is accused of distributing them out of his food truck 'Real Spice.'
Officials said massive amounts of cocaine were brought into Orange County through Chris McDonald, who lived in Florida and supplied it to Owen Beckford in Newburgh. Beckford is accused of providing the drugs to Salmon, who would also sell the drugs out of his truck.
"These dangerous drugs and illegal firearms cause havoc and devastation in our communities," Orange County Sheriff Paul Arteta said.
Prosecutors allege Beckford also got his drug supply locally from a man named Josh Arnold out of Newburgh when Beckford couldn't get any from Florida.
Once distributed, the drugs and guns flowed through dozens of other suspects across Orange County and parts of the Hudson Valley.
Investigators recovered over 11.5 kg of cocaine, 90 g of fentanyl, 31 weapons including ghost guns, $45,000 and seized 11 vehicles including the food truck during the actual takedown on Tuesday, May 21.
"The residents of Orange County deserve to be free from the dangers posed by illegal narcotics, trafficking rings and the guns that inevitably follow," U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives special agent in charge Bryan Miller said.
Officials estimate the cocaine ring sold more than $3 million worth of drugs in and around Orange County.


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