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Operation Sunset Defendants Appear in Central Court

Nine defendants in the state attorney general’s office’s “Operation Sunset” case appeared for preliminary hearings in Lackawanna County Court on Monday – including two high-ranking members of one of the two alleged drug gangs busted in the case.

Four of the defendants waived their right to a preliminary hearing, including Quincy “Sunny” Buckley, 31, 804 Herbert St., Scranton.
After a conference with family members and his lawyer, Kingston-based attorney Mark Mack, Mr. Buckley decided to waive his preliminary hearing and then successfully moved to have his bail reduced from $225,000 to $150,000.

Mr. Buckley had his phone calls recorded for more than a month during the investigation and is alleged to have been a high-level dealer in the operation of Derrick “Boss” Ward, 35, 4070 Murdock Ave., Bronx, N.Y.

Mr. Ward ran a more than $1,000-per-day crack business in and around Scranton, largely out of the Hotel Sun, 410 Cedar Ave., according to investigators.

The Hotel Sun was closed earlier this year by a temporary injunction. It will remain closed at least until Wednesday, July 20, when a hearing on a one-year injunction against the hotel will be held.

Mr. Buckley was charged in May with two counts each of participating in a corrupt organization, criminal conspiracy to deliver cocaine and marijuana, possession with intent to deliver cocaine and marijuana and delivery of cocaine and marijuana, and one count of criminal use of a communication facility.

Mr. Ward was charged with two counts of participating in a corrupt organization and one count each of criminal conspiracy to deliver cocaine, possession with intent to deliver cocaine, delivery of cocaine and criminal use of a communication facility.

Mr. Ward is scheduled to appear for a preliminary hearing in central court today at 12:45 p.m.

Among the five defendants who decided to have their preliminary hearings – all of which were continued to a joint hearing on July 29 – was Rashad Roper, 21, 4184 Wilder Ave., Bronx, N.Y.

Mr. Roper faces two counts of participating in a corrupt organization and one count each of criminal conspiracy to deliver cocaine, possession with intent to deliver cocaine, delivery of cocaine and criminal use of a communication facility.

According to an affidavit of probable cause filed in the case, Mr. Roper was tasked with recruiting subordinate dealers in New York and transporting them to Scranton to work for Mr. Ward.

While Mr. Roper did not appear in court on Monday, his court-appointed attorney, John Petorak, advised Magisterial District Judge Robert Russell and Deputy Attorney General Tim Doherty that Mr. Roper’s mother intends to put her Bronx home up against her son’s bail, which is set at $250,000.

Mr. Petorak said in court that the home has been appraised at $377,000, a value that would be reduced by an $80,000 mortgage remaining against the property.

Courtesy of Scranton Times Tribune
Written by Denis J. O’Malley