MASSENA — A Massena couple charged with having approximately $30,000 worth of heroin packaged for sale hidden in a bedroom closet both denied knowing the drugs were in their apartment during their arraignment on felony drugs charges Saturday.
Massena Village Police charged Gerald L. Dissottle Jr., 21, and Megan N. LaFlesh, 19, both formerly living at 15 Bishop Ave., with a felony, third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. They were taken into custody at 9:19 a.m. Saturday at an apartment on Route 56 at Townline Road in the town of Louisville.
The couple were living in the Bishop Avenue apartment where one man was shot and another robbed during a drug-related incident Monday night. The couple have since been evicted from the apartment.
Village police seized 1,640 bundles of heroin — nearly 4 ounces — found in a bedroom closet of women’s clothes Saturday when they conducted a search related to Monday’s shooting and stabbing. The street value of the drugs is more than $30,000, according to Massena Village Police Chief Timmy J. Currier.
Mr. Dissottle was arraigned by acting Massena Village Justice James M. Crandall and sent to St. Lawrence County jail, Canton, with bail set at $50,000 cash or $100,000. Ms. LaFlesh, also arraigned by Judge Crandall, was sent to the county jail with bail set at $20,000 cash or $40,000 bond.
It is no secret that the increased crime in Massena is driven by the illegal drug trade, from marijuana to opiates to heroin, Mr. Currier said.
“The amount of heroin found at this residence underscores the drug problem we face here in Massena and in this region,” Mr. Currier said.
Massena police Investigator Joseph Brown said Saturday’s arrest marked the first heroin arrest in Massena in recent years.
“We have been hearing it was coming,” he said. “Other agencies around us have had encounters with it. This is our first significant encounter with it.”