By Eli Ruiz
MONTICELLO The streets of Sullivan County are a bit safer after a buy/bust operation conducted by the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office and its Gang and Drug Intelligence Unit garnered the arrest of a pretty “big fish” in reputed heroin dealer Jason Bolden Tuesday afternoon.
Bolden, 45, of Forestburgh was taken into custody Tuesday afternoon in the parking lot of the Burger King on Route 42 in Monticello.
Seven recent heroin overdose deaths in and around the county put Bolden “on the Sheriff’s Office radar,” according to Sullivan County Sheriff Mike Schiff.
Dealers in the heroin trade often stamp the glassine bags the drug is sold in with unique identifiers. The brand of heroin Bolden allegedly dealt in bore the stamp, “Last Dragon.” According to official accounts, bags bearing the “Last Dragon” stamp were recovered at the scene of four of the seven fatal overdose scenes. According to officials, Bolden was in possession of the same branded heroin at Tuesday’s bust.
The Sheriff’s Office began its investigation of Bolden in September after County Coroner Alan Kesten notified them of the overdoses.
“Coroner Kesten compared his notes with [those of] the other coroners and they realized an alarming trend was developing,” said Schiff in a press release.
After placing the Gang Intelligence Unit on the case, the Sheriff’s Office would subsequently garner enough information to single out Bolden as their man.
“This [the arrest] is just a piece of the puzzle,” said Undersheriff Eric J. Chaboty. “We’re trying to run down all the leads, especially with all destruction this brand - and any brand for that matter - [of] heroin has caused the community . . . we want it off the streets.”
Deputies would eventually track the suspect to an eatery at 2677 Route 42, in Forestburgh. The eatery coincidentally named “Dragon Fly -” included what appears to be a used car dealership. The small town is believed to be Bolden’s “base of operations,” according to the Sheriff’s Office.
“All cases like this are important, from a community standpoint, to bring to a closure,” said Schiff. “The drug problem on our streets is epidemic and we [local law enforcement] must continue our due diligence in arresting the individuals peddling this stuff to our children.”
Bolden has been charged with third degree felony sale of a controlled substance with intent to sell, as well as endangering the welfare of a child stemming from the presence of a 4-year-old child when Bolden was arrested. Bolden was arraigned at Town of Bethel Court and remanded to Sullivan County Jail without bail.
Arrested along with Bolden were Lawrence James, 50, of Monticello, and Spring Jackson, 35, of Forestburgh. James was charged with loitering in the first degree and unlawful possession of marijuana, while Jackson faces the same loitering charge along with endangering the welfare of a minor.
All three are due in Town of Thompson Court on October 17.
Schiff added, “I’d like to give credit to my Chief of Patrol, Blake Muthig, as well as Gang and Drug Intelligence officer Thomas O’Connor, and the men and women of the Sheriff’s Office who participated in this investigation.”