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Clinton County residents arrested in drug roundup

PLATTSBURGH — The arrests of 36 suspected drug dealers was announced Tuesday by the Clinton County District Attorney's Office.

The majority of the people face charges related to heroin sales or possession, and the rest are allegedly connected to either cocaine, crack cocaine, morphine or hydromorphone.

About half of the arrests were made in the City of Plattsburgh, said Plattsburgh City Police Department Chief Desmond Racicot.

DRUG-MOTIVATED CRIME

"Much of the crime experienced in this area is directly a result of the drug issue that is plaguing our communities," said State Police Troop B Bureau of Criminal Investigation Capt. Robert LaFountain.

For example, preliminary investigation shows that 21-year-old Philip Taft, who is accused of trying to rob Bark's Shell Station in Plattsburgh on Saturday, has a history of drug abuse, LaFountain said, and the crime may have been drug-motivated.

"Fortunately, the station attendant (Guy Loveless) was not seriously injured, but I can tell you after viewing that (surveillance) videotape, he nearly met with a serious injury that could have resulted in his death."

Some of those arrested in the roundup are repeat drug offenders, Clinton County District Attorney Andrew Wylie said.

While many of the suspected dealers are local, the DA said some of the people who were arrested in this sweep come from Albany, New York City or other areas to "prey on the people that are suffering from these addictions."

Racicot said narcotics investigators have seen the price of a bag, or "bindle," of heroin drop to as low as $10 because there's so much of it in the area. A bindle sold for as much as $50 several years ago, the chief said.

OVERDOSES

Users seek out the heroin that is known to cause overdoses "because they feel that's the best heroin on the market," Wylie said.

"These people have hit pretty much rock bottom, and they don't really care whether the next hit of heroin they take is going to cause their death or not."

In the last two years, Plattsburgh City Police Department has investigated more than a dozen fatal drug overdoses. And State Police have investigated 35 fatal overdoses over the past two years.

"The age range (of overdose) is vast," said State Police Troop B Bureau of Criminal Investigation Lt. Brent Davison. "It's anywhere from 15 years old to mid 60s."

For many, getting arrested will save their life, said Clinton County Sheriff David Favro.

"The only hope that they have is to get somebody to intervene in the process while they're still living and breathing before they take that bad dose and you don't have an opportunity again."

TREATMENT PROGRAMS

The DA said these arrests will spawn other drug investigations.

Most of the charges are class B felonies, which are punishable with up to nine years in prison, Wylie said.

However, many of the defendants will receive a different sentence, which may include rehabilitation programs like Clinton County Drug Treatment Court, he said.

"It can be a very beneficial program, but (as) with anything, we have a very large recidivism rate. We have people who come back that don't complete the program, but it's a fantastic program that we utilize."

COLLECTIVE OPERATION

Last year at this time, 60 people were arrested in the largest drug sweep in county history.

Wylie said all their cases have been closed over the past year with varying degrees of sentences, ranging from prison time to probation.

A drug roundup close to the year's end is common in Clinton County and Wylie said the reason for that is both that it's at the end of the fourth grand-jury term and because the cases are collected in a way so there's not too quick of a turnaround between when the buys are made and when alleged dealers are indicted so defendants aren't able to identify the confidential informants who bought drugs from them.

"If we are able to identify the (major drug) source that's coming in, a much more immediate response is taken in an effort to take down what we refer to the drug kingpins," LaFountain said.

The arrests are the result of ongoing narcotics investigations by the Adirondack Drug Task Force, which comprises the Clinton County District Attorney's Office, Clinton County Sheriff's Department, State Police, Plattsburgh City Police, the Drug Enforcement Agency, Homeland Security Investigations and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

DRUGS IN JAIL

Drug use for defendants doesn't stop when they're incarcerated, Favro said.

"They have friends and they have family members attempting to bring it into jail," he said.

The number of promoting-contraband cases his department has forwarded to the DA's Office has increased tenfold over the last few years, the sheriff said.

And it's inevitable that some of the drugs in the jail will go undetected, Favro said.

"When you see the multiple ways that they can actually bring these different substances into the facilities, in some cases, it's nearly impossible to be able to find these drugs prior to or when they're being passed."

'TAXPAYER BURDEN'

The health-care costs associated with drug use are profound, Favro said.

"I watched this morning as many of these defendants were brought into the booking room of the Clinton County Jail," Favro said. "Some of them I've known ... and I look at how they've aged, how these drugs have had such a significant impact on their faces, on their skin, their appearance their ability to even function.

"Who pays for that? The taxpayers pay for that."

One inmate who was part of the sweep was in the hospital receiving treatment Tuesday, and a couple others were under close watch to ensure their safety since they are experiencing medical problems as a result of their drug use, Favro said.

Reflecting on the larger context of the crimes, officials emphasized that the extent of addiction and the criminal activities it leads to knows no jurisdictional lines.

"This problem is troop-wide, statewide, country-wide. It's not just local," Davison said.

SUSPECTS

Here is the list of people charged, as released Tuesday by State Police and the Clinton County District Attorney's Office:

Harold Ashline, 73, of Plattsburgh: Two counts of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and two counts of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance (morphine).

Roland B. Barber, 31, of Plattsburgh: Two counts of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and two counts of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance (morphine).

Chantelle R. Charland, 22, a New York resident and inmate at the Clinton County Jail: Four counts of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and four counts of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance (heroin).

Patrick J. Cogan, 52, of Morrisonville: Two counts of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and two counts of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance (cocaine).

Damion M. Cox, 19, of Morrisonville: Two counts of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and two counts of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance (heroin).

Jeremy M. Dame, 38, of Plattsburgh: Third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance (heroin).

John Day, 51, of Saranac: Third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance (heroin).

Deshawn Dupree, 31, of New York City: Two counts of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and two counts of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance (heroin).

Andrew C. Dickerson, 26, of Plattsburgh: Third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance (heroin).

Cynthia Edmonds, 58, of Plattsburgh: Two counts of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance; two counts of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance (cocaine); fourth-degree conspiracy and criminal sale of a controlled substance on or near school grounds.

Jeremy A. Fessette, 39, of Plattsburgh: Two counts of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and two counts of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance (heroin).

Ralph Flood, 39, of New York City: Two counts of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and two counts of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance (cocaine).

Kevin M. Gibson, 52, of Plattsburgh: Two counts of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and two counts of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance (cocaine/crack cocaine).

Daniel F. Giddings, 31, of Keeseville: Two counts of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and two counts of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance (cocaine).

Katelynn Goheens, 24, of Plattsburgh: Third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance (heroin) and fourth-degree conspiracy.

Walter Harriman, 26, of Plattsburgh: Three counts of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance (cocaine) and two counts of fourth-degree conspiracy.

Daquan T. Johnson, 29, of Albany: Two counts of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and two counts of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance (heroin).

James M. Laduke, 21, of Dannemora: Two counts of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and two counts of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance (heroin), fourth-degree conspiracy and criminal sale of a controlled substance on or near school grounds.

William L. Loan, 37, of Plattsburgh: Two counts of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and two counts of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance (cocaine) and two counts of fourth-degree conspiracy.

Rachael D. McDuffie, 24, of Plattsburgh: Two counts of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance; third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance (heroin); fourth-degree conspiracy; third-degree attempted criminal sale of a controlled substance; and third-degree attempted criminal possession of a controlled substance (heroin).

Jacob Molloy, 25, of Plattsburgh: Third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance (heroin) and fourth-degree conspiracy. Molloy remained in Clinton County Jail Tuesday.

Fernando A. Montaque, 23, of the Bronx: Two counts of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and two counts of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance (cocaine).

Tyler J. Powers, 22, of Plattsburgh: Third-degree attempted criminal sale of a controlled substance; third-degree attempted criminal possession of a controlled substance; two counts of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance; and two counts of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance (heroin).

Jenna Proctor, 31, of Plattsburgh: Two counts of fourth-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance; two counts of fourth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance (Suboxone); and criminal sale of a controlled substance on or near school grounds.

Emily V. Sileo, 24, of Peru: Third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance (heroin)

Jacqulyn D. Trombley, 58, of Plattsburgh: Two counts of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and two counts of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance (heroin).

Ivor S. Wilson, 37, of the Bronx: Third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance (cocaine).

Samantha Zalusky, 25, of Plattsburgh: Two counts of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and two counts of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance (morphine and heroin).

Karen Knowles, 49, no address: Third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance, third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance on or near school grounds (hydromorpone).

Stephen Benoit, 32, of Utica: Third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance (heroin).

Andrew LaDuke, 26, of Plattsburgh: Third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance (heroin).

Christy Burnell, 26, of Plattsburgh: Third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance (morphine).

Mark LaPierre, 51, of Plattsburgh: Two counts of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance, two counts of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance (heroin) and two counts of fourth-degree conspiracy.

Heather Blanchard, 28, of Rouses Point: Third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance (hydromorphone).

Michael Dobson, 28, of Plattsburgh: Two counts of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance, two counts of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance (heroin) and two counts of fourth-degree conspiracy.

Donald Cugno, 25, of Plattsburgh: Two counts of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance, two counts of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance (heroin).


Email Felicia Kriegfkrieg@pressrepublican.com

Twitter: @FeliciaKrieg

Felicia Krieg was raised in Plattsburgh and graduated from SUNY Plattsburgh in 2011 with a degree in English literature and print journalism. She started as a Press-Republican staff writer in 2012.

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