More than 60 people have been indicted in the largest narcotic and controlled-substance investigation and roundup in New York’s North Country.
The Clinton County District Attorney’s office announced Wednesday that a Drug Enforcement Administration, Adirondack Drug Task Force and NYS Police Troop B Narcotics Enforcement Unit investigation has resulted in grand jury felony indictments against 61 people for the sale or possession of controlled substances.
District Attorney Andrew Wylie says the investigation that led to the record bust began in October 2012. On Monday and Tuesday about 80 law enforcement officers deployed in 10 teams during a coordinated drug sweep and arrested the defendants on a variety of drug charges. “Twenty-eight of the sixty-one defendants are charged with selling heroin. Fifteen of the 61 defendants are charged with the sale of cocaine. Sixteen are charged with the sale of prescription pills. One has been charged with the sale of methamphetamine and another individual with hindering prosecution.
Twenty-three of the defendants have prior felony convictions. Seven are college students - six were enrolled at SUNY Plattsburgh and one at Clinton Community College when arrested. SUNY Plattsburgh Police Chief Arlene Sabo says the college has no tolerance for drug activity by students . “The SUNY Plattsburgh students I can tell you are no longer students at SUNY Plattsburgh. The illegal sale of drugs often leads to other criminal activities. And because we prioritize safety, we typically suspend the students involved.”
Law enforcement seized a 9mm Glock handgun, more than 7oz of cocaine, more than 260 bags of heroin and more than $20,000 in U.S. currency. Drug Enforcement Agency Assistant Special Agent in Charge James Burns says this sweep shows that law enforcement and local residents will not tolerate the negative effects of drug trafficking. “Several drug trafficking organizations were disrupted and dismantled that were operating in Clinton County. And these organizations that we disrupted, these are not just fly-by-night folks. They were using very sophisticated traps in vehicles. One vehicle that was seized during the course of this investigation had a very sophisticated hidden compartment that was electronically operated and that was used to smuggle cocaine into the Plattsburgh and Clinton County area for resale.”
Clinton County Sheriff Dave Favro notes that a large drug sweep touches every resident in the county, affecting safety, quality of life and property values. “Take a look at some of the locations that don’t attack the drug problems as aggressively. If we weren’t that aggressive, you would be seeing an erosion in your property values, you would be seeing a mass exodus of people from this community. They wouldn’t want to be living here because it would be taken over by people selling drugs, using drugs and the multiple other crimes that come along with both of those.”
Potential sentences will depend on the specific crime and criminal history and range from two and a half years to 60 years in state prison.