CRARYVILLE–A Craryville man was indicted on a single count of unlawfully dealing in firearms February 14, according to announcement by United States Attorney Richard S. Hartunian, Columbia County Sheriff David Harrison, Jr. and Joseph A. Anarumo, special agent-in-charge with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF).
The indictment charges that between February 15 and August 31, 2011, Steven Rodriquez, 20, allegedly sold a number of firearms without a license.
A joint investigation by the Sheriff’s Office, the ATF, the Drug Enforcement Agency Capital District Drug Task Force and the State Police Community Narcotics Enforcement Team/Gun Investigation Unit began in March 2011 after Sheriff’s Office investigators developed information that Mr. Rodriquez was illegally trafficking weapons from his Craryville residence.
During the investigation, it was found that Mr. Rodriquez allegedly sold firearms, including semi-automatic and revolver handguns, and an illegally altered 9 mm carbine rifle.
He is not a federally-licensed dealer and does not possess the appropriate state or federal licenses to possess or sell handguns or altered rifles. All of the weapons sold are currently in law enforcement custody.
If convicted, Mr. Rodriquez faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine up to
$250,000. He is currently released under pre-trial supervision after posting property bail at an initial appearance on the criminal complaint.
In a press release, Sheriff Harrison commended all of the agencies involved and said that ATF and the other federal and state agencies all worked together with the same intensity alongside Sheriff’s Office investigators in this case. “Illegal firearms greatly increase the potential for violent criminal activity and the Sheriff’s Office will use any and all law enforcement resources available to keep illegal guns off of Columbia County streets,” the sheriff said.
United States Attorney Hartunian’s office will prosecute the charge in the Northern District of New York.
Sheriff Harrison also said that the investigation is continuing and that Columbia County District Attorney Paul Czajka has been briefed on the case.
ATF is investigating the origin of the weapons and additional charges are possible.
‘Synthetic cannabis’ presents danger
GREENPORT–Columbia County Sheriff David Harrison, Jr. warns residents of a potential danger involving a substance that looks like marijuana and is being sold in some convenience stores.
The substance sold as “herbal incense” and “herbal smoking blends” is presently legal to sell. It is also known as “synthetic cannabis”, “K2” and “Spice.”
“Synthetic cannabis” is a psychoactive herbal and chemical product that, when consumed, mimics the effects of cannabis. It’s also reported that this substance, alone or in combination with other substances, may cause symptoms including anxiety coupled with agitation, tachycardia, elevated blood pressure, vomiting, hallucinations and possible tremors, according to a press release.
Packages are labeled “not for human consumption,” but many times the contents are being used as a mind altering substance. New York State law makers are trying to make the synthetic cannabis illegal but chemists regularly change the ingredients, skirting the law.
The Sheriff’s Office has contacted schools districts in the county with information about the substance. It is also important that parents be aware of the possible harmful effects of these products as they are readily available for purchase by their children, the sheriff said.