FORT PLAIN -The Fort Plain Police Department and the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office on Thursday announced the conclusion of a six-month investigation into drug sales in the village and surrounding area with the recent arrests of seven people.
Fort Plain Police Chief Robert A. Thomas III said this is the fifth joint operation of its kind since 2006 that results in multiple arrests for selling drugs ranging from marijuana to cocaine to heroin. He said arrests were inside the village in the towns, and the majority of the suspects face felony charges.
Thomas announced the following were charged:
- Michael Ricci, 22, of 25 Highland Place, Canajoharie - third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance, and third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.
- Amy Bevers, 33, of 32 Sullivan St., Dolgeville - third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance, and fifth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, with intent to sell.
- Joshua Bennet, 25, of 25 River St., Fort Plain - third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance.
- Harold Snyder, 37, of 182 Canal St., Fort Plain - third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance.
- David McGrath, 21, of 52 Reid St., Canajoharie - possession of a controlled substance outside of container.
- Ronald W. Hogan, 23, of 70 Main St., Fort Plain - third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance.
- Richard A. Burke, 52, of 6310 Route 10, Canajoharie -third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance.
Most of the suspects were sent to the Montgomery County Correctional Facility pending further court action, police said. Thomas said in a prepared statement that investigations of this type require manpower and extra equipment, usually above what smaller agencies have at their disposal.
"We are fortunate to be able to partner with the sheriff's office, coordinating an effort to remove drug sales from our village streets," the chief said.
Thomas said investigators from both agencies established leads in drug sales, then developed a plan and established evidence to make arrests for sales.
"We are fortunate that we can call the sheriff to get support and that Undersheriff [Jeff] Smith lives right in the village and is always at our disposal," Thomas said. "Their deputies have been great to work with. I'm also fortunate that DA [James] Conboy makes himself available to answer questions and give guidance when something out of the ordinary pops up."
The chief said that with "looming budget cuts the county, we are watching the end of this type of work here."
"This is an important part of policing a society and I'm beginning to worry about my village," Thomas said. "If any more is cut, it'll put us in a bad spot for these investigations."
Montgomery County Sheriff Michael Amato said in the same prepared statement that working together in such cases "provides the needed resources to have the success we have had along with providing the best service possible with the taxpayers in mind."
"We have partnered with other good agencies in the past such as the state police, the DEA, St. Johnsville police, state parole and county probation trying to knock back the drug sales," Amato said. "But honestly, the best way for us to do this is with another agency like the sheriff's office that is local and knows the players this well."