Historic drug bust leads to human and labor trafficking investigation

Acting Sullivan DA Meagan Galligan announcing two large drug busts.

MONTICELLO – Acting Sullivan County District Attorney Meagan Galligan recently announced the arrest of Juan Rosado of Henryville, PA on charges related to the largest marijuana seizure in Sullivan County – more than 1.5 tons of the drug.

Rosado is also being investigated for human and labor trafficking as a result of the marijuana arrest.  The labor trafficking investigation is believed to span several states.  The US Department of Homeland Security, Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office, and the Sullivan County District Attorney’s office are working together on the case.

During the investigation into the substantial marijuana grow operation on Midway Road in Liberty, a search warrant was executed, leading to the large drug discovery and the identification of one individual believed to be a labor trafficking victim.

The individual was initially transported by police to the hospital. When police identified signs of labor trafficking, Galligan’s District Attorney’s Crime Victim Advocate, Candice Ozolins, who has specialized training in the area of human trafficking, immediately made contact with this victim and has been providing critical support to her for the past several weeks.

On August 28, New York’s Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance confirmed that the circumstances of this investigation meet the criteria for confirmation of human trafficking and joined Galligan’s efforts to provide the victim with financial, physical, and emotional support.

Galligan said “We are asking the public for assistance in identifying others who may be involved in the trafficking of individuals for labor purposes in Sullivan County. Although there is no one way to identify a victim of labor trafficking, some common patterns are that victims are often kept isolated, with their activities restricted and they are often watched, escorted, or guarded by others when they are in public.”  Galligan added that victims may be blackmailed by traffickers who use the victim’s status as an undocumented person to overcome any resistance.  Traditionally, victims often come from unstable and economically devastated places. In addition, women and children are more often trafficked because of their relative lack of power compared to others.

If you see something, say something by calling the Sullivan County District Attorney’s Office at 845-794-3344.

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