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Massena man sentenced to five years in state prison for cocaine possession

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CANTON - A 31-year-old Massena man was sentenced to five years in state prison Tuesday for his conviction on a cocaine possession count.

St. Lawrence County Court Judge Jerome J. Richards also ordered Andrew J. Katura to be placed under three years of post-release supervision when he is released from a state correctional facility. He was also ordered to pay $375 in court fees and surcharges for his conviction on third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance.

He faced a mandatory state prison sentence as a second felony offender. Katura admitted he had a September 2004 conviction for third-degree attempted burglary from St. Lawrence County Court.

Defense attorney Bradford C. Riendeau told the court his client acknowledged he had used poor judgment and was remorseful for his actions.

He said the client he knows from their visits at the county jail and at court appearances is a shy, pleasant man.

“My client is quite concerned with being involved in his daughter’s life,” Mr. Riendeau said.

Massena Village Police had charged Katura with felony counts of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, third-degree criminal possession of a weapon - assault rifle, and third-degree criminal possession of a weapon - high capacity ammo feeding device following the execution of a search warrant March 28 at his 55 Liberty Ave. residence.

He was also charged with a misdemeanor count of fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon. Police also charged Katura with a second count of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance stemming from a sale that took place in January.

The charges were all satisfied by Katura’s plea to the felony drug count.

Katura and Amber M. Miller were charged with possessing an AR-15 that had been reported stolen earlier in the day by Timothy Alguire, 345 East Orvis St. Katura, a convicted felon, was also reportedly in possession of a fully-loaded 30-round magazine.

Police also reportedly found several grams of cocaine packaged for sale in 27 plastic bags and more than 6 ounces of marijuana during their search of the residence.

The rifle was reportedly located at 223 East Hatfield St., the residence of Stephen A. Richards.

Mr. Richards, in the statement he provided police, said Katura had brought the AR-15 to his residence.

In other recent court action before Judge Richards:

• Aaron T. Capone, 37, of Washington Street, Watertown, formerly of Hannawa Falls, was placed on interim probation and had his sentencing for an aggravated driving while intoxicated conviction adjourned until Aug. 17.

St. Lawrence County Public Defender Stephen Button told the court Capone had completed a six-month in-patient treatment program in mid-August in Jefferson County.

“I’m doing very good now. I’m working. I’m feeling healthy, feeling a lot better about myself,” Capone told the court.

He also thanked the county court judge for giving him the opportunity to get treatment.

“There’s no reason to thank me,” Mr. Richards responded. “You did all the work. You simply took advantage of an opportunity. If you didn’t, you knew where you were going.”

Capone was charged by St. Lawrence County Sheriff’s deputies on Nov. 30 with felony counts of aggravated DWI, first-degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, second-degree forgery and first-degree offering a false instrument for filing and a misdemeanor charge of second-degree criminal impersonation following a traffic stop on Route 56 in the town of Potsdam.

Deputies said Capone had identified himself as his brother, Jason, during the stop and signed several documents with Jason Capone’s name while he was being processed on the DWI charge. Capone’s blood alcohol content was 0.24 percent, deputies said. Under state law, a BAC of 0.08 percent or more is considered proof of intoxication. Aggravated DWI is charged when the BAC is 0.18 percent or more.

• Terrance A. Brown, 24, a former SUNY Potsdam student listing a Far Rockaway address at the time of his indictment, had his sentencing for a drug conviction adjourned until Sept. 22.

The court noted it had received a memorandum from the probation department reporting Brown is currently incarcerated on felony charges in Queens County, New York City, and is expected to be sentenced to a significant period of incarceration in connection with those counts.

Brown had been one of six SUNY Potsdam students, including five fraternity brothers, rounded up May 10, 2011 during a series of early-morning drug raids led by Potsdam Village Police and St. Lawrence County Drug Task Force members.

The suspects were accused of selling various drugs, including oxycodone, marijuana, mushrooms, Ecstasy and other prescription drugs to undercover informants since October 2010. Some of the sales occurred inside the former Psi Phi fraternity house on Pierrepont Avenue, police said at the time of the arrests.

The raids occurred county-wide using several police agencies, with officers seizing marijuana, cocaine, $5,000 cash, scales and several smoking devices, police said.

A St. Lawrence County grand jury had handed up an indictment in November 2011 charging Brown with fifth-degree sale of a controlled substance. He was accused of selling N-benzylpiperazine on March 3, 2011 in Potsdam.

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