Busts abound but 911 calls down at Big Up

CLAVERACK—Twenty-seven people ranging in age from 17 to 53 were arrested on drug charges during the Big Up Festival, a three-day music event held at Hemlock Hollow Farm off Martindale Road August 8, 9 and 10.

State Police from the Livingston barracks, the Columbia County District Attorney’s Office and the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office used a variety of law enforcement techniques in and around the Town of Claverack in an effort to limit the amount of dangerous drugs being consumed by attendees and reduce drug-related emergencies throughout the festival, according to a press release.

Among the illegal drugs seized were: 2,167 dosage units of the hallucinogen LSD, 247 MDMA pills, 16 grams of powdered MDMA, 180 grams of mushrooms containing the hallucinogen psilocybin, 15 grams of cocaine, the Schedule II stimulant Adderall, the dissociative anesthetic Ketamine, 4 grams of hashish and 358 grams of marijuana. MDMA is the hallucinogen known as Ecstasy, the press release said.

Due to drug-related issues associated with this festival in the past, State Police were determined to take steps to reduce the amount of illicit narcotics entering Columbia County and to make the festival as safe as possible, Major Michael Kopy, Troop K commander, said in the release.

Working their law enforcement partners and festival organizers, police placed undercover troopers assigned to the Community Narcotics Enforcement Team or CNET on festival grounds during the duration of the festival.

“The State Police dedicated numerous resources and time on behalf of the people of Columbia County. This effort surely goes a long way in protecting the community from various drug related issues,” Columbia County District Attorney Paul Czajka said in the release.

According to the Columbia County 911 center, there was a dramatic decrease in calls for emergency medical services at this year’s event—only one call for service during the entire three-day festival.

State Police made the following arrests:

*Mark D. Tennent, 53, of Hesperia, CA, was charged with third degree criminal sale of a controlled substance, a class B felony and fourth degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, a class C felony. He was arraigned in Claverack Court and sent to Columbia County Jail in lieu of $30,000 cash bail.

*Aaron J. Nelson, 22, of Pittsfield, MA, was charged with third degree criminal sale of a controlled substance, a class B felony, and fourth degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, a class C felony. He was arraigned in Claverack Court and sent to jail in lieu of $10,000 cash bail.

*Matthew R. Crowley, 26, of Wyantskill was charged with third degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, a class B felony; seventh degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, a class a misdemeanor, and unlawful possession of marijuana. He was arraigned in Claverack Court and sent to jail in lieu of $25,000.

*John A. Kelemen, 33, of Central Valley was charged with third degree criminal sale of a controlled substance, a class B felony. He was arraigned in Greenport Court and sent to jail in lieu of $100,000 cash bail.

*Timothy Hiller, 31, of Nassau was charged with third degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, a class B felony and fourth degree criminal possession of marijuana, a class A misdemeanor. He was arraigned in Claverack Court and sent to jail in lieu of $15,000 cash bail.

*Taylor M. Gates, 26, of Leesburgh, VA, was charged with third degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, a class B felony, and unlawful possession of marijuana. He was arraigned in Claverack Court and sent to jail in lieu of $1,000 cash bail.

*Paul F. Wackerow, 27, of Syracuse was charged with fourth degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, a class C felony; seventh degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, a class A misdemeanor, and unlawful possession of marijuana. He was arraigned in New Lebanon Court and sent to jail in lieu of $500 cash bail.

*Brittney A. Bergevin, 22, of Worcester, MA, was charged with fifth degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, a class D felony; resisting arrest, a class A misdemeanor, and unlawful possession of marijuana. She was arraigned in Claverack Court and released on $100 cash bail.

*Brendan J. Doherty, 20, of Winchester, MA, was charged with fifth degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, a class D felony. He was arraigned before Claverack Court and was released on $200 cash bail.

*Prina M. Vendetti, 20, of Cambridge, MA, was charged with fifth degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, a class D felony. She was arraigned in Claverack Court and released on $75 cash bail.

*Michael C. Reilly, 23, of Loudonville was charged with fifth degree criminal sale of a controlled substance, a class D felony; fifth degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, a class D felony; seventh degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, a class A misdemeanor, and unlawful possession of marijuana. He was arraigned in Livingston Court and was sent to jail in lieu of $5,000 cash bail.

*Ross I. Carson, 47, of Brighton, MA, was charged with fifth degree criminal sale of a controlled substance, a class D felony; seventh degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, a class A misdemeanor, and unlawful possession of marijuana. He was arraigned in Livingston Court and sent to jail in lieu of $20,000 cash bail.

*Alex P. Caruso, 20, of Dexter, ME, was charged with fifth degree criminal sale of a controlled substance, a class D felony. He was arraigned in Livingston Court and sent to jail in lieu of $10,000 cash bail.

*Cody J. Whiteford, 20, of Plattsburgh was charged with fourth degree criminal possession of marijuana, a class A misdemeanor. He was arraigned in Claverack Court and released on $500 cash bail.

*Justin Hayes, 39, of Philadelphia, PA, was charged with seventh degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, a class A misdemeanor. He was arraigned in Claverack Court and released on his own recognizance.

Police also charged a dozen people with unlawful possession of marijuana. They were all issued appearance tickets returnable in Claverack Court at a later date.

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