Valatie traffic stop results in charges for stolen opioids

VALATIE—Deputies seized a large quantity of opioids and arrested a Troy woman on felony drug charges after a vehicle and traffic stop at the intersection of State Route 203 and Church Street in the Village, Saturday, November 2.

At 12:38 a.m., Sheriff’s Office First Sergeant John Rivero and K9 Deputy Jason Garvey were on routine patrol when they saw a blue 2012 Dodge Avenger fail to stop for the stop sign at the intersection of State Route 203 and Church Street. The deputies initiated a traffic stop and identified the operator of the vehicle as Amanda Johnson, 33, of Troy.

A license check on Ms. Johnson revealed that her license was suspended nine times for various reasons, including failing to answer a summons.

Operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license is a misdemeanor charge in New York State.

As deputies took Ms. Johnson into custody they found more than 18.35 grams of prescription opioids on her person, according to a press release from Columbia County Sheriff David P. Bartlett.

Sheriff’s Office criminal investigators along with uniformed deputies continued with the investigation and discovered that Ms. Johnson was a former employee of The Grand at Barnwell Nursing Home and had been seen at the facility earlier in the evening. Investigators were able to determine that the large quantity of opioids found on Ms. Johnson were allegedly stolen from a medication lock box inside the nursing and rehabilitation center.

She was charged with third degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, a class B felony; second degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, a class U misdemeanor, and failure to stop at a stop sign, a traffic infraction.

Ms. Johnson was arraigned before Town Justice Jack Mabb in Stockport Court and was sent to the Columbia County Jail in lieu of $7,500 cash bail or $15,000 bond. The defendant is scheduled to appear in Kinderhook Town Court at a later date.

This investigation is continuing and additional charges are possible. Anyone with information about this case is asked to contact the Sheriff’s Office investigators at 518-828-4316. Ask to speak with Senior Investigator Kevin Skype or Investigator Patrick Logue.

Chatham

Two local people were arrested for their alleged involvement in illegal drug activity after a search warrant was executed at their residence Saturday, October 19.

Charley Cintron, Jr., 41, and Kimberly Hines, 49, both of Chatham, were each charged with third degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and third degree criminal possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell, both class B felonies, according to a press release from Columbia County Sheriff David P. Bartlett.

The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office Drug Enforcement and Education Unit and the State Police Violent Gangs and Narcotic Enforcement Team executed a search warrant, issued by Columbia County Judge Jonathan Nichols, at 34 Hudson Avenue in the Village of Chatham, October 19 at 8:04 p.m. Mr. Cintron and Ms. Hines, who were the subjects of an ongoing drug investigation, were home at the time along with a 13-year-old child.

Sheriff’s investigators recovered drugs and money from the home. About 25 grams of a controlled substance that field-tested positive for the presence of heroin and fentanyl, more than $2,000 cash and items used in the sale and distribution of the drug, such as scales and packaging material were seized. The drugs have a street value of about $3,700.

Mr. Cintron and Ms. Hines were both arraigned in Stockport Court before Justice Malcolm Smalley. Ms. Hines was released on her own recognizance and Mr. Cintron was sent to the Columbia County Jail without bail. Both are scheduled to return to court at a later date.

The Sheriff’s Office was assisted in this case by investigators from the State Police Livingston barracks, Columbia County Probation Department and District Attorney Paul Czajka.

This arrest and search warrant came two days after another drug dealer was taken off the streets by the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office Drug Enforcement and Education Unit (DEEU).

Carlos Santos, 63, was charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell, a class B felony, October 17.

Through the course of this investigation the Sheriff’s Office obtained a search warrant from Judge Nichols for Mr. Santos and a 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe SUV.

That vehicle, belonging to Mr. Santos, was stopped by sheriff’s deputies and investigators assigned to the DEEU on Route 9 and 23 in Greenport. As a result of the search warrant 75 packets of a brownish, powdery substance that later field-tested positive for heroin and fentanyl were recovered from the person of Mr. Santos.

He was arraigned in Greenport Court before Justice John Porreca and was sent to the Columbia County Jail without bail. He is scheduled to return to court at a later date.

District Attorney Czajka and the State Police Violent Gangs and Narcotics Enforcement Team also assisted with this investigation.

In the press release, Sheriff Bartlett said that in light of the recent spike in drug overdoses in Columbia County the Sheriff’s Office will continue to aggressively investigate all reports of illegal drug dealing activity. The dangers that heroin, specifically when combined with the lethal drug fentanyl, poses to the community continues to be the top priority of investigators assigned to the Drug Enforcement and Education Unit, he said.

The DA said in the release, he “is very impressed, as always, with the cooperation among agencies and the quick response by the Sheriff’s Office, the New York State Police and the Sheriff’s Office leadership.”

Anyone with any information about illegal activity should contact the Sheriff’s Office tips line at 518-822-8477. Callers may remain anonymous.

*Ten commercial establishments throughout Columbia County were checked when State Police Troop K Zone 1 uniformed troopers and Bureau of Criminal Investigation investigators conducted an underage drinking operation, October 21.

One business sold alcohol to an underage minor operative.

During the detail, David Maresco, 37 of Niverville, who was working at the Chatham XtraMart, 601 State Route 295, allegedly sold alcoholic beverages to a minor.

He was issued an appearance ticket for violating ABC Law 65-c. He was ordered to appear in Chatham Court at a later date.

In a press release, Troop K Zone 1, Zone Commander Captain David Kolb stated that the State Police continue to conduct underage drinking operations throughout the county and the state. “The sale of alcohol to minors continues to be an issue and the State Police will continue to do our part to stop it.”

Drugs/alcohol

The following face drug- and/or alcohol-related charges:

*Ronald Farrere, 72, of Hillsdale was charged with DWI first offense, operating motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) above .08%, both unclassified misdemeanors as well as a vehicle and traffic violation of moving from lane unsafely, by Deputy David Stevens October 12 at 9:36 p.m. Mr. Farrere was arrested as a result of a traffic stop on State Route 23 in Hillsdale. A breathalyzer test was administered which yielded a 0.14% BAC. Mr. Farrere is scheduled to appear in the Hillsdale Court November 20.

*Shawnee Paquette, 34, of Valatie was charged with driving while ability impaired by drugs with prior conviction within 10 years, a class E felony; aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle and operation of a motor vehicle with a suspended registration, both unclassified misdemeanors, and operating a motor vehicle without insurance, a traffic violation, October 14 at 1:48 p.m. Ms. Paquette was arrested as the result of a traffic stop on State 9, Kinderhook by Deputy John Sullivan. She is scheduled to return to Kinderhook Town Court November 12.

To contact Diane Valden email

Copake shooting suspect indicted

By DIANE VALDEN

HUDSON—Jesus Figueroa, 26, of the Bronx was indicted by a Columbia County Grand Jury on charges of second degree attempted murder, first degree assault and two counts of second degree criminal possession of a weapon.

He was arraigned on the charges in Columbia County Court by Judge Richard M. Koweek, November 1.

Mr. Figueroa allegedly shot Cody Curtis, 22, of Copake six times at a Halloween party in Copake in the early morning hours of October 27. Mr. Curtis, who was initially hospitalized and underwent surgery for his injuries is now home.

What was supposed to be a small gathering for several friends got out of hand when more than 60 people showed up after learning of the party on social media, police said.

State Police Senior Investigator Eric Barnes and Investigator Craig Morrison, the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, and Hudson Police investigated the case and arrested Mr. Figueroa.

In a press release, District Attorney Paul Czajka commended State Police for their efforts in this extremely complex and timely investigation, and noted that the investigation is ongoing.

Ryan Carty and Joyce Crawford are prosecuting the case for the District Attorney’s Office. William Galvin, Esq. represents Jesus Figueroa.

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