December 20, 2012

Police: 12 caught in drug sweep

MALONE — A dozen people, including a mother and son, were charged with drug dealing Wednesday in a police sweep through Franklin and St. Lawrence counties.

Catherine Tambini-Dustin, 46, and her son, Shawn Dustin, 23, both of Fort Covington, were among those taken into custody during the roundup, conducted by the State Police and several law-enforcement agencies involved with the Franklin County Border and Narcotics Task Force.

Those charged were individuals targeted in separate cases during the last eight months and not part of an organized drug-trafficking network, said Franklin County District Attorney Derek Champagne.

“We had heroin, cocaine and prescription drugs,” he said. “Some of these people were allegedly selling their scripts, some are convicted felons allegedly selling drugs to make a profit, and some are frequent offenders.”


A similar roundup was made in June, when 18 people were charged with prescription-drug peddling.

Another arrest was pending from Wednesday, and the person was expected to surrender to troopers.

Many of those arrested were either relatives or family friends.

During a news conference at the State Police barracks in Malone, State Police Troop B Commander Maj. Richard Smith said that many of those in custody receive public-assistance benefits and that the drugs they sold were purchased through prescriptions paid for by Medicaid, which is funded by taxpayers through the counties’ departments of social services.

A single Oxycodone pill could sell on the streets for $1 per milligram, while Subutex and Subutex in strip form can go from $30 to $40 each, said Malone Village Police Chief Chris Premo.

He said the dealers, who were in treatment and supposed to be using prescriptions to kick their own addictions, were selling off their pills to make money.

In order to appear to a caseworker that they were still taking their required drugs and prove it by having the substance detected in their body, the dealer would simply buy back a dose before their known test date to achieve the desired results, Premo said.

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