Focus in Delaware drug battle narrows

By Dave Greber

February 27, 2013 Updated Feb 28, 2013 at 2:41 PM EDT

(WBNG Binghamton) Jason Wilsey is unsuspecting.

At 5 feet 6 inches, he’s described on his arrest report as "small."

But authorities say he was the lynchpin in a nearly three-year drug operation whose web had a reach far beyond the borders of Delaware County, and led to the conviction and potential life sentence of one of the biggest drug dealers in Central New York.

"Within the past year, there's been significant problems,” said Delaware County Sheriff Thomas Mills. “It really came to the point where something had to be done.
 
“Some of those products led us to believe that it was coming from a local source," he added.
 
The Delaware County Sheriff says the 33-year-old Wilsey stole his product from the Hobart-based drug manufacturer Covidien.
 
Wisley worked the night shift in the blending department where he had access to pure oxycodone powder used to manufacture prescription medicine.
 
But the powder used in the mixture is the purest form of a mind altering painkiller that's reportedly stronger than heroin.
 
In 2010, the Delaware County Sheriff's office noticed the sale of pharmaceutical oxycodone powder had ramped up there and surrounding counties
 
Authorities say Wilsey's scheme required persistence, bilking the drug manufacturer out of its costly product bit by bit, and then selling it to his half-brother Robert, a convicted sex offender and admitted drug dealer.
 
"The drug dealers that set up shop here in rural Delaware County are very careful and protective in who they sell their drugs to," said Delaware County Undersheriff Craig DuMond. "So it's difficult to infiltrate these circles.”
 
A representative from Covidien said the company continues to work with police on the investigation.
 
"We are cooperating fully with law enforcement on the issue," said Covidien Spokeswoman Lynn Phillips.
 
"We do have a strict security protocol in place at our Hobart plant.  We do background checks and drug testing on all our employees, and we are continuously evaluating ways to improve our security for the safety of the public and our employees."
 
Through the increased use of confidential informants, teamwork and other tactics, many drug circles have been broken, including one of the largest.
 
On Dec. 21, the sheriff’s office received a major break in the growing oxycodone case when they went to serve a search warrant on Robert Wilsey at his Fusco Drive home.
 
Investigators say Robert rolled on his brother Jason, providing enough information for deputies and others to later return to the house on Fusco Drive and find nearly 5 ounces of pure oxycodone powder, with a street value of $50,000, according to the sheriff’s office.
 
"I started looking under rocks and as soon as I found that bag, I knew that we had it,” said Delaware Deputy John Demeo. “And that was crucial.
 
"I'm sure some of the other investigators -- the administration, the DEA -- they also felt the same thing,” he said.
 
Robert Wilsey then provided enough information for his brother to be indicted, the sheriff’s office said.
 
"At this point, I think because of the persistence of this agency itself, and how hard we're trying to tackle this problem, it's paying off,” Demeo said. “And people are seeing it. The public is seeing it. And that's extremely important."

Jason Wilsey was indicted Jan. 18 by a Delaware County grand jury on a charge of criminal sale of a controlled substance, a class A-1 felony. If convicted, he could spend decades in prison.

He was arrested Jan. 22 and posted $100,000 bail.

"Our goal is to make the community safer,” DuMond said. “That's what we're paid to do by the taxpayer. It's gratifying that we're able to accomplish that goal. But it's frustrating when we know that we haven't entirely eradicated the problem."
 
The sheriff's office says Jason Wilsey's drugs led to the conviction of Dante Major, a major drug trafficker arrested last March.
 
Major was convicted last year, and sentenced to 55 years to life in state prison.
 
Proceedings in the Wilsey case are inching along, however. His next appearance following an arraignment in January has not been scheduled.