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Barbara Lombardo of Saratoga Springs, NY, is a journalism adjunct at University at Albany and retired executive editor of The Saratogian, The Record and the Community News. Follow her on Twitter @Barb_Lombardo.

Monday, April 1, 2013

City police going after drug traffickers

The Saratogian’s online and front-page centerpiece story this morning pulls together piecemeal reporting that had been done since December about local drug arrests.
The story is not over. But it was time for reporter Lucian McCarty to put into context the otherwise disparate stories of what police are doing to pick off drug traffickers in and around Saratoga Springs.
The first piece broke in last December as a more or less routine story. A 47-year-old Milton man was arrested on a warrant that Saratoga Springs police said was part of an ongoing investigation into cocaine and other drug trafficking. He was charged with four felonies — two counts of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and two counts of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance —and two counts of seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, misdemeanors.
Over the next three months, a total of 18 people were arrested in six raids in connection with drug trafficking as part of an investigation that includes the Saratoga Springs police, neighboring law enforcement entities, and the federal Drug Enforcement Agency.
What’s been seized, police say, includes an undisclosed amount of cash, 245 bags of heroin, 4.5 ounces of cocaine, two ounces of crack cocaine, three pounds of marijuana, and hydrocodone, oxycodone, suboxone and liquid PCP worth between $30,000 and $40,000 on the street.
Serious quantities of drugs are passing through the city, and some of it is staying right here. Police Lt. John Catone says drug addicts drove a 33 percent increase in burglaries and 10 percent increase in larcenies reported last year. To their credit, police are clearly trying to go after the bigger fish. Members of the Saratoga Springs Police Department and the Saratoga County District Attorney’s Office have the credentials of DEA agents, enabling them to follow the trail of drugs and money, as McCarty reports. People with information about drug dealing should call the SSPD’s anonymous line at 584-TIPS.
The use and sale of illegal drugs in Saratoga Springs and surrounding locales could be the basis for a whole special report, which we’ve discussed in the newsroom as a project to tackle. For now, The Saratogian had the responsibility to begin to tell the bigger story by acknowledging the efforts of police and tying together the arrests thus far.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let us hope that then Commissioner Ivins's 2010 budget, strongly endorsed by the mayor, which eliminated 7 police officers while sparing many non-essential employees, is remembered if he runs back this year.

The City can ill afford to subordinate public safety to lesser needs. Once the drug culture takes hold it is nearly impossible to eradicate. We need only look to our sister cities of Troy and Schenectady to see the outcome.

Kudos to the police.

April 1, 2013 at 10:14 AM 

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