A six-month investigation by New York authorities has led to the arrest of 12 men and one woman for allegedly participating in a drug trafficking ring. The sting, which led to arraignments on May 24, was called “Operation Cryptic Cipher.”

Over the course of the investigation, authorities wiretapped tens of thousands of telephone calls. These calls allegedly helped them determine that the 13 defendants were involved in trafficking cocaine, heroin and fentanyl from New York City to Albany, where it was distributed. Prosecutors also allege that several of the defendants knowingly sold fentanyl to users who believed they were buying heroin. Fentanyl is much stronger than heroin.

The defendants, who range in age from 25 to 59, were charged with almost 90 criminal counts, including criminal drug possession, criminal sale of a controlled substance and conspiracy. All were arraigned in Albany County Court, and all entered pleas of not guilty. One defendant was released under supervision, but the other 12 were either held on bail amounts of approximately $50,000 or held without bail. Nine of the defendants are from Albany, one is from Manhattan, one is from Queens and one is from Schenectady.

Drug crimes can lead to serious consequences for those who are convicted. These consequences may include incarceration, fines and a permanent criminal record. However, every defendant is innocent until proven guilty and has the right to mount a vigorous defense against criminal allegations. With the help of a criminal defense attorney, an alleged offender may be able to successfully fight the charges and obtain a dismissal or an acquittal. Even in situations when the evidence is solid, an attorney may be able to negotiate a more lenient sentence.