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25 arrested in drug sting : Sweep targets St. Regis Mohawk Indian Reservation PDF Print E-mail
Written by By JANICE MARRA, Staff Writer   
Wednesday, June 09, 1999

ARRESTS Jason Anderson, 24, Fort Covington; federal charge of conspiracy to distribute cocaine; jailed pending hearing Friday before U.S. Magistrate Henry VanAcker in Rouses Point.

Bridgette Phillips, 25, Fort Covington; federal charge of conspiracy to distribute cocaine; jailed pending hearing Friday before U.S. Magistrate Henry VanAcker in Rouses Point.

Peter Clute, 28, Hogansburg; federal charge of conspiracy to distribute cocaine; jailed pending hearing Friday before U.S. Magistrate Henry VanAcker in Rouses Point.

Darren George, 36, Snye, Quebec, Canada; federal charge of conspiracy to distribute cocaine; jailed pending hearing Friday before U.S. Magistrate Henry VanAcker in Rouses Point.

Paul Kennedy, 27, Tupper Lake; federal charge of conspiracy to distribute cocaine; jailed pending hearing Friday before U.S. Magistrate Henry VanAcker in Rouses Point.

Sherry Kennedy, 34, Tupper Lake; federal charge of conspiracy to distribute cocaine; jailed pending hearing Friday before U.S. Magistrate Henry VanAcker in Rouses Point.

Andy Maslin, 32, Norfolk; federal charge of conspiracy to distribute cocaine.

Frederick Mitchell, 43, Snye, Quebec, Canada; federal charge of conspiracy to possess and distribute cocaine.

Dean Cox, 38, Brushton; two counts of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and unlawful possession of marijuana; arraigned before Town of Malone Justice Thomas Wilson and taken to Franklin County Jail in lieu of $10,000 bail.

Debbie Cree, 40, Hogansburg; third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance; arraignment pending in Franklin County Court.

Doris Cree, 43, two counts of fourth-degree conspiracy; arraignment pending in Franklin County Court.

Timothy Herne, 34, Hogansburg; three counts of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance; arraignment pending in Franklin County Court.

Terry Murray, 40, Bombay; two counts of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and two counts third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. During his arrest, police allegedly found eight long guns and a small quantity of marijuana; arraignment pending in Franklin County Court.

Sandra Sharpe, 41, Massena; third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance; arraigned in St. Lawrence County Court and taken to St. Lawrence County Jail in lieu of $20,000 bail.

Darian Maslin, 26, Raymondville; third-degree criminal sale of marijuana and fourth-degree criminal sale of marijuana; arraigned in St. Lawrence County Court and taken to St. Lawrence County Jail in lieu of $10,000 bail.

Travis DeShane, 19, Brasher; third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and third-degree possession of a controlled substance; arraignment pending in Franklin County Court.

Lenny Garrow, 22, Hogansburg; fourth-degree conspiracy; arraigned before Town of Malone Justice Thomas Wilson and released on $10,000 bail.

Stacey Weeger, 19, Raymondville; fourth-degree criminal possession of marijuana; issued a ticket to appear in Town of Norfolk Court today.

James Burton, 41, Saranac Lake; third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance; arraignment pending in Franklin County Court.

Leslie Childs, 50, Saranac Lake; second-degree criminal sale of marijuana and endangering the welfare of a child; arraigned before Saranac Lake Village Justice Roy Kristofferson and taken to Franklin County Jail in lieu of $20,000.

Timothy Papineau, 42, Hogansburg; third-degree criminal sale of marijuana; arraignment pending in Franklin County Court.

Corey Wamsganz, 20, Saranac Lake; second-degree criminal sale of marijuana and violation of parole; arraigned before Saranac Lake Village Justice Roy Kristofferson and taken to Franklin County Jail in lieu of $20,000 bail.

James Shofner, 30, AuSable Forks; fourth-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance; arraigned before Lake Placid Village Justice Margaret Doran and taken to Essex County Jail in lieu of $3,500 bail.

Timothy McNamara, 48, Saranac Lake; fourth-degree criminal sale of marijuana; arraigned before Saranac Lake Village Justice Roy Kristofferson and released on $1,000 bail.

Shawn Lashway, 21, Saranac Lake; second-degree criminal sale of marijuana, seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, fifth-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance, endangering the welfare of a child and unlawful possession of marijuana; arraigned before Saranac Lake Village Justice Roy Kristofferson and taken to Franklin County Jail in lieu of $50,000 bail.

SEIZURES

From Jason Anderson and Bridgette Phillips home in Fort Covington on federal warrant: two motor vehicles, an all-terrain vehicle, a gun and an ounce of cocaine.

From Abram and Patricia Phillips home in Fort Covington on federal warrant: eight long guns, a handgun and records.

From Paul and Sherry Kennedy home in Tupper Lake on federal warrant: drug paraphernalia and records.

From Andy Maslin home in Norfolk on federal warrant: a quarter-pound of marijuana.

From James Burton home in Saranac Lake: drug paraphernalia and small quantity of marijuana on state warrant.

From Darian Maslin home in Raymondville: drug paraphernalia and marijuana on state warrant.

From James Shofner home in AuSable Forks: drug paraphernalia and marijuana on state warrant. RAY BROOK — Police put a major dent in the region's drug trade Tuesday with the early morning arrest of 25 local high- and low-level drug dealers.

New York State Police Troop B Commander William Warburton said it was the biggest single drug sweep in the Ray Brook troop's history.

And more arrests are coming.

"We definitely did not get everyone out there today, but we are still searching for people."

Tuesday afternoon, 14 warrants remained to be served.

About 180 officers from law-enforcement agencies across the region made the arrests around 5 a.m. after a year-long investigation into narcotics distribution.

The State Police, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and local police departments made the busts in Essex, Franklin and St. Lawrence counties.

"It was a very successful operation," Warburton said. "There were several different groups of drug investigations that were developed over one year. It all came together today."

While no solid totals were available about the amounts of drugs seized during the investigation, officials say a "substantial quantity" was confiscated.

The investigation stemmed from an apparent increase in drug trafficking along the U.S.-Canadian border, specifically on the St. Regis Mohawk Indian Reservation in Hogansburg.

Many of the drugs came into the United States from Canada, much of it through smuggling on the Akwesasne border. The most prevalent drug involved in the cross-border trade was cocaine.

Wesley Benedict, chief of the St. Regis Mohawk Tribal Police, said that many people in his community had approached police about stopping drug trafficking on the reservation.

"We're mandated to fight against it."

Franklin County District Attorney Andrew Schrader said he had met with area law-enforcement agencies in April 1998 to address what he viewed as a "new, rapid infusion of drugs" within the county.

"Drugs were always here, but it was growing fast in certain sections of Franklin County."

Schrader's office and other agencies also realized that most of the drugs were coming from Canada, but no one police agency could control the trafficking.

Nearly 15 law-enforcement agencies from the U.S. side of the border teamed for the investigation, which Warburton said took thousands of hours to complete.

"When we get together, we have shared resources."

Ernie Yenco, a specialist with the Drug Enforcement Administration, said his agency offered assistance to state and local police.

"The people we arrested today are the most visible drug distributors in their communities," he said. "These people were essential to the drug distribution in the area."

One pivotal arrest this morning was of Jason Anderson, 24, of Fort Covington. Police said they consider Anderson, who has been in the region for about eight years, to be a major local cocaine distributor.

While many of Tuesday's arrests were conducted by state and federal authorities, the Saranac Lake Village Police Department also made seven arrests.

The department has been closely working with the Drug Enforcement Administration on a village investigation.

"We knew who the local dealers were," Police Chief Donald Perryman said. "We needed to prove it."

Nearly all of the department's 14 officers were involved in leading the seven suspects into the village police station between 5 a.m. and 7 a.m.

Some of those arrested were wearing nothing more than shorts. The accused men said little, and one hung his head as he walked into the station.

Local police confiscated a substantial amount of marijuana, peppered with orange slices to minimize the strong stench of the homegrown plant. Officials also recovered paraphernalia, bullets and drug-sales records from one apartment.

The man facing the most serious charges from the Saranac Lake arrests is also involved in a pending lawsuit against Perryman and the village.

James Burton, 41, of Saranac Lake was charged with third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and is in the Franklin County Jail without bail.

Burton, who is African-American, accused Perryman, who is white, of assault and use of a racial slur after the chief questioned Burton about an alleged kicking of a village police car in October 1998.

Burton's attorney, Stephen Vanier of Malone, could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Perryman said the department had been investigating Burton since before that incident.

The chief added that he and his department are "relieved" that the investigation is coming to a close.

"Our efforts to control drug distribution will continue in Saranac Lake."

While officials realize that Tuesday's sweep will only stop activity temporarily, Benedict is among the law-enforcement officers who support working together to curb the problem.

"Cooperation is the only way to fight against drugs."

 

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