A Hudson Valley heroin dealer who was found with 2,500 bags of heroin and has six drug convictions will likely spend the rest of his life in jail.

On Tuesday in Sullivan County Court, 45-year-old Ronald Smith of Fallsburg was sentenced to 35 years to life in state prison after a jury found him guilty of two counts of conspiracy, criminal sale of a controlled substance, four counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance and tampering with physical evidence, all felonies.

"Smith was the leader and proven kingpin of this organization and was responsible for distributing large quantities of the deadly drug heroin in our community," Sullivan County District Attorney Jim Farrell said. "He was a merchant of despair, suffering, pain, addiction and death. With all the havoc heroin is wreaking on our community with overdose deaths, hospitalizations and addiction, this sentence was particularly appropriate. Smith has demonstrated that, when he is at liberty in the community, he is a clear and present danger to our community."

Smith was arrested on September 18, 2017, at his apartment in the Laurel Garden Apartments after a lengthy investigation by the New York State Police Community Narcotics Enforcement Team.

An execution of a search warrant revealed Smith possessed 1,000 bags of heroin in his apartment and 1,550 bags of heroin in a stash location in the Village of Liberty, officials say.

During the course of the investigation, State Police also purchased approximately 900 bags of heroin from a co-conspirator and accomplice, according to the Sullivan County District Attorney’s Office.

Smith was convicted of conspiring to sell over a half ounce of heroin and possession of the heroin. He was also found guilty of trying to sell heroin to an undercover officer and tampering with physical evidence, for tossing 20 bags of heroin out of a bedroom window.

Smith was previously convicted of five different drug felonies and received a prison sentence for each conviction.

He was convicted for criminal possession of a controlled substance in 2012 in Orange County, criminal sale of a controlled substance in Kings County court in 2006, criminal possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell in 2001 in Sullivan County, criminal possession of a controlled in 1999 in Sullivan County and criminal possession of a controlled substance in 1998 in Sullivan County.

Farrell said he urged the judge to find that Smith was a persistent felony offender and enhance Smith's sentence to life imprisonment given the seriousness of the crimes committed and Smith's prior criminal record.

At the sentencing, Sullivan County Court Judge Frank LaBuda called Smith a "mentor of crime and evil and a pariah in our society," who "must be removed from our society forevermore."

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