Wave Of Drug Busts Lead To Array Of Seizures, Arrests
For local residents, the head-spinning number of drug raids in the past two months has struck a bit of a bittersweet chord: police are cracking down on drugs, but the drugs keep coming.
Such was the case Friday, shortly before 5:30 a.m., when investigators with the Jamestown Metro Drug Task Force, New York State Police CNET and agents from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration executed a search warrant at a 10 Sampson St. home.
Inside, police reportedly seized 130 grams of cocaine and 25 grams of crack cocaine, along with cash, drug paraphernalia and a set of brass knuckles.
The residents, 38-year-old Odessin M. McBride and Ashley R. Mcbride, 33, were both charged with second-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, an A-2 felony; third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, a B felony; and criminal use of drug paraphernalia.
They were also charged with endangering the welfare of a child since their 4-year-old child was living with them.
Captain Robert F. Samuelson, division commander of the Jamestown Police Department, said Ring It Wireless, a cellphone shop located at 406 W. Third St., was searched as part of the investigation.
Odessin McBride, a Brooklyn native, is reportedly owner of the business.
No items from the shop were seized, Samuelson said.
Both McBrides are currently in Jamestown City Jail and awaiting arraignment. More charges are expected as an investigation continues, police said.
Investigations have no doubt been relentless in a month teeming with drug raids.
In northern Chautauqua County, a rash of heroin-related overdoses in early May, including two fatal ones, led investigators to raid a 12211 Allegany Road residence in Hanover on Wednesday. Police found more than 21 grams of uncut fentanyl, cocaine, concentrated cannabis, Suboxone, scales, a large amount of cash, a rifle and packaging materials. Six people, all in their early 20s, were handed drug possession charges.
On Monday, police seized 11.38 ounces of cocaine, $21,206 in cash and a stolen 9mm pistol from two Falconer apartments at 19 S. Work St. Two village residents were taken into custody.
On May 12, a vehicle stop at Prendergast Avenue and Crossman Street led to the seizure of methamphetamine, heroin, prescription pills and marijuana. Two people were charged.
On May 4, two separate drug busts in Jamestown, executed within an hour of each other, netted four arrests. The first, executed at 839 Prendergast Ave., yielded 13.8 ounces of marijuana, $6,700 in cash and drug paraphernalia. The other, at 510 W. Sixth St., found crystal methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia.
On May 2, a two-month-long investigation led to the arrests of two major cocaine traffickers in Dunkirk. One was pulled over on Vineyard Drive and allegedly found to have 5 ounces of cocaine. The other was busted at a 80 Lincoln Ave. residence, where nearly 30 ounces of cocaine were seized. The street value of all drugs recovered was reportedly $50,000.
The month of April also had a dizzying array of drug raids, including the April 28 raid of a 51 E. Second St. residence in Dunkirk, the culmination of a seven-month-long investigation that yielded 118.5 grams of crack cocaine and $171,297 in U.S. currency. Five people were charged.
Chief Harry Snellings of the JPD said the escalation of drugs in the city and county is a far cry from his earlier years.
“When I first started my career, getting (drug seizures of this scale) was a rarity, now it’s almost becoming a norm,” he said. “To get 15 kilos (of narcotics) off of one individual (in reference to the 2016 arrest of Juan Pacheco Jr.) in the city of Jamestown is a career case for us. That would be a big deal in the city of Buffalo or Rochester, let alone Jamestown or Chautauqua County.”
The JPD has indicated that heroin seized in the city has spiked dramatically over the years, with 119 bags seized in 2012; 826 in 2013; and 4,500 in 2014. The JPD noted that 31.16 ounces of heroin were purchased and seized by its drug enforcement unit in 2015 and 1,100 bags — and 20 grams of raw heroin — were seized by the Jamestown Metro Drug Task Force alone in 2016.
Snellings added that processed methamphetamine, as well as guns — which go hand-in-hand with the drug issue — are also having a larger presence in the city, stating the JPD has confiscated more guns recently than he’s seen in his entire career.
While residents can take comfort in the effectiveness of the Jamestown Metro Drug Task Force– composed of the JPD and New York State Police– as well as the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force–composed of the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office and Dunkirk Police Department–the “supply-and-demand” nature of drugs can make their enforcement seem an endless battle.
For Snellings, however, the key word is “management.”
“You can never eradicate the drug issue because you’re always going to have people who choose, for whatever reason, to use drugs,” he said. “So our job is to try and manage it … to minimize the crime, the violent crime … and to hit them where it hurts.”