Last Summer, all eyes were on the Hudson Valley, as local law enforcement was successful in apprehending more than a dozen individuals who were part of a vast drug trafficking network. The entire operation carried out by local law enforcement, which included Middletown Police, the Orange County Drug Task Force, and other agencies lasted two years but now it appears this story has entered into its final chapter.

The operation was referred to as "Operation: Hide in Plain Sight" and last week the mastermind or 'director' of the drug trafficking network learned his fate and was officially sentenced to serve significant time behind bars.

Summary of Operation: Hide in Plain Sight

Last Summer when local police carried out Operation: Hide in Plain Sight, they were successful in apprehending 15 individuals and charged all of them with varying crimes related to drug trafficking and conspiracy, including the head of the network, Michael Rodriguez.

Orange County District Attorney's Office
Orange County District Attorney's Office

At the time of the arrest, the then 48-year-old Rodriguez was charged with Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the 1st Degree, as well as Criminal Possession of a Weapon and Conspiracy, each in the 2nd degree. The arrest of Rodriguez caught many by surprise at the time, as he was the Director of Bronx Rises Against Gun Violence, an anti-violence program that receives government money.

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In total, law enforcement obtained over 1.5 kilo's of cocaine, more than $165K in US currency, two unlicensed handguns and numerous pieces of other drug paraphernalia. For more details regarding the original coverage of this story, continue reading here.


Guilty Plea and Sentencing 

Months later in October of 2023, the public would receive the first update on this massive operation. On October 12, an announcement came to the office of Orange County District Attorney, David Hoovler.

In the announcement, it stated that Michael Rodriguez pled guilty to the crimes of Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the First Degree and Conspiracy in the Second Degree.


During the plea proceedings, Rodriguez admitted to conspiracy with Angelica Rodriguez and Taino Lopez, where he supplied them with cocaine for them to then resell.

Fast forward again now to last week as Michael Rodriguez was officially sentenced for the charges against him. The expectation at the time of the plea deal was that upon sentencing Rodriguez would serve 10 years behind bars and that is exactly what he received.

Lisa Maree Williams / Getty Images
Lisa Maree Williams / Getty Images

In addition, part of the plea deal meant that Rodriguez would forfeit "Ill Gotten Proceeds" for his crimes. Those ill-gotten proceeds would amount to a vehicle as well as $165,000 dollars.

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