By MIRANDA ORSO
---- — MALONE — The largest heroin seizure here in 15-plus years led to three arrests and confiscation of 1,220 bundles of heroin with an estimated street value of $36,600.
Randy P. Hart Jr., 30, of Malone; Chad M. Gilman, 24, of Bombay; and Angela M. Mulverhill, 30, of Brushton were taken into custody Wednesday night following a three-month-long investigation into heroin sales in the Village of Malone and northern Franklin County.
Malone Village Police, armed with anticipatory search warrants, pulled over a vehicle occupied by Hart and Mulverhill on Wednesday night and found the heroin inside, according to a statement from Franklin County District Attorney Derek Champagne.
He said the pair were returning to the area from Massachusetts with heroin intended for sale locally, he said.
The investigation revealed the three suspects had, allegedly, been traveling to Massachusetts about 20 times each month over the past three months to purchase the powerful drug.
Champagne said the potential street value of the drugs brought in for sale in the area is estimated at about $1.2 million.
Later, police and the Franklin County Border Narcotics Task Force executed multiple search warrants, which they say led them to more drugs.
Ten members of the New York State Police Special Operations Response Team entered Gilman’s home at 91 Moore Road in Malone, utilizing a diversionary device without firing shots, the statement said. They found 19 pounds of processed marijuana with a street value of $60,800, about $9,400 in cash and a stolen .45 caliber Glock handgun, along with ammunition, Champagne said.
The second warrant was executed at Hart’s home at Jock’s Mobile Estates at 455 County Route 32, Lot 19, where the search yielded a small amount of heroin, along with drug paraphernalia, police said.
Hart was charged with four counts of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell and three counts of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance. Both charges are felonies.
Gilman was arrested on three counts each of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell and third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance.
The two men’s charges are related to incidents dating back to middle and late August up until their arrest Wednesday night, the DA said.
Mulverhill was charged with third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell, stemming from the traffic stop last night.
Champagne said they launched the investigation after a neighbor reported to Village Police that Hart was allegedly selling drugs.
He said Hart and Gilman, along with other associates, were the main focus of the investigation, and he expected more arrests to be made.
“We have other heroin groups we are currently investigating,” Champagne said.
Both the Task Force and Champagne noted the marked increase in people traveling to cities to purchase drugs in order to sell locally and an increase in individuals coming to the area from cities for that purpose.
Champagne said the increase may be the result of a decline in another kind of drug use.
“We’ve seen a decrease in prescription-drug abuse, especially Oxycodone,” he said.
The drug now comes in gel form, making it more difficult for users to shoot up or snort in order to achieve a more rapid high.
“Those people are looking for something new,” Champagne added. “And they turn to heroin.”
His office has at least four cases pending against Franklin County residents who were allegedly traveling out of the area to pick up drugs that they would turn around and sell back home.
Grace Miola, 23, drove to Patterson, N.J., to purchase heroin that was intended for sale in the Malone and Chateaugay areas, authorities said.
David Jackson, 33, and Desaraie Brown, 33, were charged in May with trafficking cocaine from Springfield, Mass., to Malone. When a search warrant was executed at their 10 Lake St. home, police reportedly seized 1.5 ounces of cocaine, five pot plants, a small amount of pot, drug paraphernalia, drug-sales records and a .32 caliber semi-automatic handgun that had been reported stolen from Massachusetts in 2010.
Marianne Fraizer was also arrested after police said she was allegedly traveling to New York City to pick up cocaine to be sold in Franklin County.
Three other residents have already admitted buying drugs elsewhere in the state that were later sold in the village.
Rory Williams, 34, and his wife, Belinda Williams, 39, pleaded guilty early this year to third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and are expected to receive time behind bars in state prison after traveling to Syracuse for cocaine to be resold locally.
Anna Fiacco, 36, pleaded guilty to two counts of third-degree attempted criminal sale of a controlled substance for her role in taking trips to Schenectady to buy heroin for resale.
The Malone Village Police Department was assisted by the New York State Police, U.S. Border Patrol, Drug Enforcement Agency, the District Attorney’s Office, the Division of Criminal Justice Services and High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area analysts.
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