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Drug Task Force raid picks up nine people on felony charges

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CANTON — Rising demand for narcotics and the expansion of social media are being blamed for a steady increase in drug trafficking in St. Lawrence County with the arrest this week of 10 local residents accused of dealing drugs.

St. Lawrence County District Attorney Nicole M. Duve and Sheriff Kevin M. Wells announced that nine people had been arrested on a series of indictments unsealed and filed in St. Lawrence County Court late Tuesday afternoon and one on a felony complaint in a local court.

“There is no question that in recent years there has been a steady drug increase in the county,” Ms. Duve said Wednesday night. “This roundup represents the efforts to address these crimes.”

Both Sheriff Wells and Ms. Duve said investigations leading up to Tuesday’s arrests go back as far as a year in a coordinated effort among state, county and local authorities.

The following were indicted; their addresses were not listed:

n Sallee J. Royce, 20, of Edwards, on three counts of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and three counts of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. She is accused of selling morphine pills on three occasions in May.

n Daniel P. LaTray, 33, of Gouverneur, on three counts of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and three counts of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. He is accused of selling morphine pills on three occasions in June and August.

n Kevin D. Logan, 21, of Potsdam, on three counts of fifth-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and three counts of fifth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. He is accused of selling LSD on three occasions in November.

n Jon E. Paige, 29, of Massena, on one count of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and one count of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. He is accused of selling cocaine on one occasion in November.

n Danilov K. Casimir, 21, of Potsdam, on two counts of third-degree criminal sale of marijuana. He is accused of selling marijuana on two occasions in February.

n Douglas W. Harris, 31, of Gouverneur, on one count of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and one count of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. He is accused of selling heroin on one occasion in March.

n Matthew T. Schirmer, 24, Philadelphia, on third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. He is accused of selling cocaine on one occasion in October 2012.

n Matisha L. Wineglass, 32, of Watertown, on two counts of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance. She is accused of selling cocaine on two occasions in March and April.

n Keith W. Snyder, 21, of Massena, on one count of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and one count of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.

He is accused of selling cocaine on one occasion in the village of Massena in April.

Additionally, Mark A. Weir, 43, of the town of Fowler was charged with second-degree criminal possession of marijuana on a criminal complaint out of Fowler Town Court, Mr. Wells said.

All were arraigned before acting St. Lawrence County Judge Kathleen M. Rogers late Tuesday afternoon.

Mr. Casimir, Ms. Royce, Mr. Paige and Mr. Logan were released with conditions under probation supervision, while Mr. Harris and Mr. LaTray were sent to the St. Lawrence County jail with bail set at $10,000 cash or $20,000 bond.

Ms. Wineglass and Mr. Schirmer were sent to the county jail without bail, and Mr. Weir was released under probation supervision.

Mr. Snyder, who was already in the county jail, was arraigned Wednesday and returned to the jail, where he is serving a sentence after admitting a probation violation.

Sheriff Wells said the rise in drug trafficking in the county is partly due to outside influences and the marketing demand for the narcotics. The arrest of New York City man Patrick R. Lloyd, who is suspected of being the leader of a Massena drug ring, is just one example of that outside influence, Sheriff Wells said.

“What they can sell heroin for in New York City, they can get three times that here,” Sheriff Wells said.

Ms. Duve said the Internet is playing a large role in the drug increase in St. Lawrence County.

“I think the expansion of the Internet and social media has facilitated the entry of outside influences including the drug trade,” Ms. Duve said, suggesting prevention is an educational and community effort.

“Parents need to talk to their kids about using drugs,” Ms. Duve said. “We need to have continued efforts as a community to install those anti-drug values and community values.”

As a part of that education, Ms. Duve said, law enforcement plays its part in education through Drug Abuse Resistance Education and neighborhood watch programs such as the Massena Drug Free Coalition, where stakeholders in the community hold forums to discuss ideas to help with drug addiction problems.

Law enforcement’s job is to deter the conduct by arrest and prosecution, Ms. Duve said.

“Our office works very closely with law enforcement to address drug crimes throughout the county so that these types of ongoing, long-term investigations can take place,” Ms. Duve said. “I can’t do my job without them and they can’t do their job without me.”

The sheriff added that the use of narcotics such as heroin and cocaine have increased in the county as a direct result of law enforcement agencies, the medical community and prescription drug manufacturers making prescription drugs in the county harder to access, including the substitution of gel capsules for certain drugs that came in a crushable pill form.

“It’s a good bust because it is all sales and they were all dealers,” Sheriff Wells said.






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