ITHACA, N.Y. – Police arrested an Ithaca man on Tuesday, two months after he was identified as the alleged central figure in a heroin trafficking network in the Finger Lakes region.

According to the Ithaca Police Department, members of the United States Marshals Service located Arthur Erskine, 40, at a residence in Utica just after 6 a.m. on Tuesday.

Police have been looking for Erskine after a warrant was issued for his arrest in May when police identified him as a central figure in an alleged heroin distribution network. Erskine reportedly maintained one residence in the Bronx and two residences in the Cayuga Heights neighborhood of Ithaca. According to Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, the three locations were allegedly used for trafficking heroin.

Erskine was wanted for several felony charges resulting from a multi-agency drug investigation, according to a release from IPD on Wednesday.

On March 12, 2017, members from nine law enforcement agencies across the state concluded a five-month investigation in “Operation Un-Wise,” led by the New York State Attorney General’s Organized Crime Task Force (OCTF), and the New York State Police.

The operation resulted in a 217-count indictment of 31 individuals – 17 of whom resided in Tompkins County – who were involved in distributing mass quantities of heroin. After executing search warrants on eight different residences in the state – two locations in Manhattan, one in Queens, four in Tompkins County, and one in Tioga County – police recovered over a kilogram of heroin, dozens of grams of cocaine, 14 handguns, one MAC-11 machine pistol, and other narcotics-related paraphernalia.

According to the Attorney General, Erskine allegedly purchased hundreds of grams of heroin in March and smuggled them into Tompkins County. The narcotics were reportedly laced with Fentanyl and were subsequently connected to eight overdoses in Tompkins County and Tioga County between March 2 and March 7.

Upon locating the defendant on Tuesday, police secured Erskine in custody without incident. He was transported to Tioga County Jail and is pending arraignment on July 21 at 1 p.m. in Tioga County Court.

Alyvia Covert

Alyvia is a Crime Reporter with The Ithaca Voice. She graduated from Ithaca College with a degree in Journalism and Photography.