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Drug bust sweeps Franklin County (update)

Large heroin bust at Broadway apartment house

August 29, 2013
By CHRIS KNIGHT - Senior Staff Writer (cknight@adirondackdailyenterprise.com) , Adirondack Daily Enterprise

SARANAC LAKE - A multi-agency roundup of suspected drug dealers netted 18 arrests in Saranac Lake Wednesday and one of the largest seizures of heroin village police have seen in years.

Another 18 suspects were arrested in other parts of Franklin County, including two from Tupper Lake, during the day-long sweep, which law-enforcement officials called one of the biggest drug roundups in county history. Police are still looking for several additional suspects.

The Saranac Lake end of the sweep began shortly after 7 a.m. Wednesday when a group of roughly 35 local, state and federal law-enforcement personnel met at the Saranac Lake police station for a briefing.

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Village Police Chief Bruce Nason told the group they were looking for 18 people, although he said one had already been picked up Tuesday night by the Watertown Police Department.

"We anticipate getting 17," Nason told the group. "That's the goal."

The police, sheriff's deputies and federal law-enforcement personnel were divided into five initial teams, each made up of four to five people, and sent to the first five locations - homes and apartment houses on Franklin Avenue, Lake Street, McKenzie Pond Road and Algonquin Avenue. Most of the suspects were wanted on warrants for selling cocaine or prescription drugs like Suboxone.

As of 7 a.m. today, Nason said police had made 18 arrests in Saranac Lake, a number that includes several people who weren't on the original list of suspects targeted in the morning raids. Police were still trying to find four other people who may have left the area: Wesley R. Strack, 30; Alissa R. Tucker, 19; Adam S. Bateman, 23; and Nicholas B. Kolbasook, 19. Anyone with information about their whereabouts is asked to contact village police at 518-891-4422.

At one point during the sweep, police went to an apartment house at 155 Broadway looking for two suspects on the list. They didn't find them, but police executed search warrants at two apartments and found 6 ounces of heroin, 2 ounces of crack cocaine, LSD, ecstasy and methamphetamine. The street value of all those drugs is roughly $12,000, Nason said.

"We expected to find some, but this is the biggest, as far as heroin, since I've been here," said Nason, who's been with the Saranac Lake Police Department since 1994. "It was all in individual packages and ready to go."

At the same time police in the Saranac Lake area were conducting their raids, a similar roundup was happening in other parts of Franklin County. Another 18 suspects were in custody by late afternoon, including a pair from Tupper Lake, while several more were being sought. One suspect police are still looking for ran through the woods in Mountain View when officers approached his residence, according to Franklin County District Attorney Derek Champagne.

The DA said there's a "perfect storm" of drug dealing activity hitting the North Country. Dealers from urban areas like Syracuse, New York City, New Jersey and Massachusetts are trying to establish organized heroin and cocaine supply networks here.

"These groups are repeatedly making efforts at moving to our rural communities and thinking that they can set up shop and be unnoticed," Champagne said. "Law enforcement will take notice and are taking notice."

At the same time, there's also a growing crystal methamphetamine problem in the region, Champagne said. During their search of the apartments at 155 Broadway, Saranac Lake police found chemicals used to make meth.

"The ability to make small amounts of crystal meth is clearly here," the DA said. "And with these activities comes new addictions. These new addictions eventually lead to a need for increased volume of use for those who have become addicted. The impact on a community can be devastating."

Nason said many of the arrests were the result of drug buys police set up using confidential informants. Both he and Champagne said other arrests were based on information provided by the public.

"I've had people contact the office and say, 'Look, my neighbor's going to New York City, he's coming back once a week, and then there's a nonstop flow of cars and people I don't recognize going into the house,'" Champagne said. "We're just asking people to be vigilant and aware of what's going on in their community."

Nason said he was pleased with the results of the roundup.

"Considering the amount of people we had to get, it went very well," he said. "I can't say enough about the officers here and the ones that came to help us. This was quite an undertaking for one day."

Asked what impact the arrests will have on the drug trade, Nason said within three to four days other dealers will be comfortable and selling again.

"We're not going to stop it but whatever we can do to minimize the impact, we're going to be just as proactive moving forward," Nason said.

As a result of these arrests, Champagne said he's launched an investigation into alleged welfare fraud committed by some of the same defendants.

The following 18 people were arrested in the Saranac Lake area Wednesday:

Angela Florence, 40, of Saranac Lake, was charged with two counts each of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and third-degree criminal possession of a narcotic for allegedly possessing and selling cocaine, and two counts of fourth-degree conspiracy. She was arraigned in village court and remanded to the county jail in lieu of $5,000 cash bail or $10,000 bond.

Joshua D. D'Angelo, 22, of Saranac Lake, was charged with two counts of fourth-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance for allegedly selling Suboxone, and two counts of fourth-degree conspiracy. He was arraigned and released under the supervision of probation.

Brittany Hanley, 20, of Saranac Lake, was charged with two counts of fourth-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance for allegedly selling Suboxone, and two counts of fourth-degree conspiracy. She was arraigned and released under the supervision of probation.

Travis J. Suprenant, 23, of Watertown, was charged with third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance for allegedly selling morphine, and fourth-degree conspiracy. He was arraigned and remanded to the county jail in lieu of $5,000 cash bail or $10,000 bond.

Shannon M. Kilner, 23, of Saranac Lake, was charged with three counts of fourth-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance for allegedly selling Suboxone, and three counts of fourth-degree conspiracy. She was arraigned and released under the supervision of probation.

Chelsea M. Lorette, 23, of Saranac Lake, was charged with fifth-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance for allegedly selling Xanax, along with fifth-degree conspiracy and third-degree conspiracy. She was arraigned and remanded to the county jail in lieu of $5,000 cash bail or $10,000 bond.

Louis A. Howland Jr., 25, of Saranac Lake, was charged with third-degree criminal sale and possession of a controlled substance for allegedly selling and posessing cocaine, fifth-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance for allegedly selling Klonapin, fourth-degree criminal sale of marijuana, and fourth- and fifth-degree conspiracy. He was arraigned and remanded to the county jail in lieu of $5,000 cash bail or $10,000 bond.

Russell K. Carpenter, 23, of Saranac Lake, was charged with third-, fourth- and fifth-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance for allegedly selling cocaine and Suboxone. He was alco charged with third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and two counts of fourth-degree conspiracy. He was arraigned and remanded to the county jail in lieu of $5,000 cash bail or $10,000 bond.

Kyle R. Simpson, 29, of Saranac Lake, was charged with fourth-degree criminal sale and fifth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance for allegedly selling and possessing Suboxone. He was remanded to the county jail pending arraignment in county court.

Beth M. Woodruff, 40, of Saranac Lake, was charged with fifth-degree criminal possession and fourth-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance for allegedly selling and possessing Suboxone. She was remanded to the Franklin County jail pending arraignment in county court.

Megan J. Siegle, 20, of Lake Placid, was charged with two counts each of third-degree criminal possession and criminal sale of a controlled substance for allegedly selling and possessing cocaine, and two counts of fourth-degree conspiracy. She was arraigned and released under the supervision of probation.

Crystal L. Sheldon, 26, of Saranac Lake, was charged with third-degree criminal sale and third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance for allegedly selling and possessing cocaine, and fourth-degree conspiracy and second-degree criminal contempt. She was arraigned and remanded to the Franklin County Jail in lieu of $5,000 cash bail or $5,000 bond.

Rodney L. Sheldon, 36, of Saranac Lake, was charged with two counts each of third-degree criminal sale and third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance for allegedly selling and possessing cocaine, and fourth-degree conspiracy. He was remanded to the county jail pending arraignment in county court.

Matthew J. Taylor, 30, of Saranac Lake, was charged with fifth-degree criminal sale and fifth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance for allegedly selling and possessing Xanax, and fifth-degree conspiracy. He was remanded to the county jail pending arraignment in county court.

Shannon J. Emmons, 25, of Saranac Lake, was charged with criminal possession of meth precursors, seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and third-degree unlawful manufacture of meth. She was remanded to the county jail in lieu of $10,000 cash bail or $20,000 bond.

Joseph D. Williams, 27, of Saranac Lake, was charged with criminal possession of meth precursors, seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and third-degree unlawful manufacture of meth. He was remanded to the county jail in lieu of $10,000 cash bail or $20,000 bond.

David M. Dean, 30, of Chanhassen, Minn., was charged with second- and third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance for allegedly possessing heroin and cocaine. He was remanded to the county jail without bail.

Bernard J. McCormick, 29, of North Bangor, was arrested for failure to appear for a conference in Franklin County Court. He was remanded to the county jail, pending arraignment.

Two Tupper Lake residents were also charged as part of the countywide roundup:

Scott D. Baker, 28, was charged with two counts of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance for allegedly selling heroin, a single count of the same charge for allegedly selling Fentanyl, and three counts of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance for allegedly possessing heroin and Fentanyl. He was indicted and remanded to the county jail without bail, pending arraignment.

Michael J. Delair, 39, was charged with two counts each of criminal sale and possession of a controlled substance for allegedly selling and possessing heroin. He was indicted and remanded to the county jail without bail, pending arraignment.

Law enforcement agencies involved in the raids included village police in Malone, Saranac Lake, Lake Placid and Tupper Lake, state police, Franklin County sheriff's deputies, the St. Regis Mohawk Tribal Police Department, Watertown Police, U.S. Border Patrol, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, the Massena Border Enforcement Security Team and the Homeland Security Investigations unit. Support was provided by Care Under Fire Specialstis, and the Saranac Lake Volunteer Fire Department and Saranac Lake Volunteer Rescue Squad were on standby.

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Contact Chris Knight at 891-2600 ext. 24 or cknight@adirondackdailyenterprise.com.

 
 

 

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