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Massena mayor arrested on drug charges, apologizes

Massena Mayor Timmy J. Currier and former police chief was arrested at gunpoint Tuesday in the village. (Screenshot from video by Mary Brewer)

MASSENA — Mayor Timmy Currier, following his arrest Tuesday afternoon, announced Wednesday he will be taking a leave of absence from his position as village mayor.

The 55-year-old was charged by St. Lawrence County sheriff’s deputies at about 12:25 p.m. with seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance (crack cocaine in this case), a misdemeanor; tampering with physical evidence, a felony; and failure to comply with a police officer.

The sheriff’s office reports Currier, the only occupant of the vehicle, failed to pull over and continued driving for roughly one-third of a mile through the village. Officers said they observed Currier throwing about one gram of crack cocaine out of his passenger window before stopping his vehicle near the intersection of Center and Willow streets.

A video circulated on social media Tuesday of Currier being handcuffed against a vehicle in a residential area near the intersection. St. Lawrence County Undersheriff Sean O’Brien confirmed Currier was held at gunpoint during the arrest.

Elected mayor in 2014, Currier ran as a Democrat and defeated incumbent Republican James Hidy with 74% of the vote. Currier had been serving as Massena’s chief of police prior to beginning his mayoral term and had been on the village force for 26 years.

Currier issued the statement just after 11 a.m. Wednesday. It reads in full as follows: “Some time ago, I made some poor decisions that unfortunately led me down a path resulting in my arrest on Tuesday, December 1st. I cannot express how embarrassed and disappointed in myself and for my family and friends.

“I want to apologize to my family and friends who continue to show me unconditional love during these difficult times.

“Please remember that the Village of Massena employees and staff do incredible work for this community each and every day. My poor decisions should not reflect negatively upon them in any way.

“I have spent 32 years in public service working for the citizens of Massena and the North Country. I have always appreciated their trust and support. I hope and pray that I will have an opportunity to regain that trust.

“This morning I informed Deputy Mayor Matt LeBire and Village Administrator Monique Chatland that I will be taking a leave of absence from my position as Village of Massena Mayor, so I can seek professional treatment. Deputy Mayor LeBire will serve as acting Mayor in my absence.

“I ask that you respect my family’s privacy during this difficult time.”

Currier was arraigned virtually by Morristown town Justice James Phillips Jr. and released on appearance tickets.

St. Lawrence County officials Wednesday afternoon, including county District Attorney Gary Pasqua, county Sheriff Brooks Bigwarfe and his partners, held a press conference in Canton where they further detailed Currier’s arrest.

They confirmed the investigation into Currier’s alleged drug involvement began a “few months ago” and that he was at the center of the investigation.

St. Lawrence County Board of Legislators Chair Joseph R. Lightfoot, R-Ogdensburg, described Currier as “a very good friend.”

“Surprised is an understatement,” Lightfoot said Tuesday night. “I’m shocked.”

Lightfoot, a 27-year, now retired state police officer, said a public disservice is imposed any time a public official is believed to be involved with “something nefarious.”

“If they are true,” Lightfoot said of the allegations levied against Mr. Currier, “it’s a shameful thing that an elected public official, especially one whose background is in law enforcement, is suspected in unlawful activity.”

During his tenure as police chief, Currier headed the board of the Boys & Girls Club of Massena as president. Under Currier’s leadership, the club found a home at the former St. Joseph’s School, eventually evolving into the Police Activities League of Massena last year.

When the purchase of St. Joseph’s was finalized in December 2013, Currier celebrated the work of the community to grow the club and support its longevity.

“One of our goals with this club is to make Massena a better place, perhaps to bring back more of what’s great about Massena,” Currier said in 2013.

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