North Adams Police Keep Pressure on Criminal Element
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Police say a major drug bust on Tuesday is a successful example of how they're keeping the pressure on outside criminal elements — and a warning to those considering a return.
"The lion's share of the people we've been dealing with — starting about January and this summer — are outsiders, out-of-town problem people," said Police Director Michael Cozzaglio on Wednesday. "They were from Brooklyn and the Bronx; they came back in."
Three of the eight people arrested during the raid at a Mohawk Forest apartment were from the Bronx, N.Y.; a fifth gave no known address and a sixth was from Springfield. Three were local: Jaycee Bressette, 22, Pownal, Vt., Ronni Hart of Barbour Street and Paul Dugal Jr., a former Florida Mountain resident now living in Mohawk Forest.
Police found 150 grams of crack cocaine, worth about $10,000 on the street, said Cozzaglio, 80 packages of heroin worth about $1,200 and $4,000 in cash.
The police director said the suspects were not unknown to authorities, and two had outstanding warrants. Johnte Smith, 25, and Derrick Witter, 31, of the Bronx were arraigned in Superior Court on Wednesday on counts of assault and battery and intimidation of a witness from earlier this year. Smith was also charged with aggravated rape.
"We put a lot of pressure on our problem people over the summer and the out-of-town people," said Cozzaglio. "Two had outstanding warrants, which also caused them to flee. Subsequently, they had returned and, working with the public, we were able to find out where they were and what they were doing.
"They were back in the business of dealing drugs."
The raid came together very quickly after authorities learned of the alleged dealers' return. North Adams Police, working with sheriff's office and the task force through the district attorney's office, obtained a warrant and moved fast.
"It was well executed and done very efficiently and done very well," said Cozzaglio.
He said the alleged dealers may have been testing to see if the "pressure was off."
"We are not easing off one little bit. This pressure will stay on until we feel there is a difference being made," he said. "This is part of the problem but not the full problem."
Dealers coming from outside the area inevitably need a place to stay or set up operations; that means they need one or more local people's help as well as customers.
"This type of activity has no borders," said the police director, and pulls in people of all ages and backgrounds. He credited local groups working to prevent addiction and aiding current addicts as a critical effort to attacking the problem.
"Let's work with the addicts and remove the drug dealers ... they have no mercy for these people, they are truly criminal and deserve what they get," he said.
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Slick Roads Cause Pownal Rollover
POWNAL, Vt. — A Pownal woman escaped serious injury on Tuesday afternoon after losing control of her sport utility vehicle and landing in a ditch.
State Police Trooper Justin Walker said snow and icy conditions on Madison Road contributed the accident, which occurred at about 3:55 p.m.
Sarah Waters, 20, was driving her 2003 Toyota Highlander along Madison Road near the Hidden Valley Road intersection when she lost traction, slid into a ditch and rolled the vehicle.
Waters, who was wearing a seat belt, was taken to Southern Vermont Medical Center in Bennington for precautionary reasons. The Highlander incurred scratches and dents to the front fender. The Pownal Fire Department also responded to the scene.
The Vermont State Police are reminding drivers to use caution and to use proper winter tires as the winter weather sets in. The investigation remains active
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Pittsfield Man Pleads Not Guilty In Stabbing Case
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A city man was arraigned in Berkshire Superior Court on charges related to an October stabbing that sent one man to the to intensive care unit.
Tony Babcock, 25, of Second Street had not guilty pleas entered on his behalf on single counts of armed assault with intent to murder and aggravated assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon.
He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $10,000 bail.
Babcock is accused of stabbing a 28-year-old man on Second Street the night of Oct. 24. The victim was transported to Berkshire Medical Center where he underwent emergency surgery and placed in the intensive care unit.
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North Adams Police Arrest Eight In Drug Bust
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Eight people were arrested Tuesday during a heroin bust in Mohawk Forest.
According to the police log, two people were arrested on warrants during the 2 p.m. bust and six others were arrested on being present where heroin-is-kept charges.
Those arrested include Derrick Witter, 31, Christopher Gaynor, 27, and Hammad Singleton, 36, all of Bronx, N.Y.; Johnte Smith, 25, no address given; Carla Robinson, 58, of Springfield; Jaycee Bressette, 22, of Pownal Vt., Ronni Hart, 31, of Barbour Street and Paul P. Dugal Jr., 51, of Mohawk Forest.
Witter and Smith were arrested on warrants and were in Berkshire Superior Court on Wednesday.
Witter has not-guilty pleas entered on his behalf on two counts of intimidation of a witness and a single count of assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon. He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $70,000 cash or $700,000 surety bail. Those incidents allegedly occurred in North Adams between July 17 and July 29, 2013, and involved a 40-year-old woman.
Smith had not-guilty pleas entered on his behalf on three counts of assault and battery and single counts of aggravated rape, assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon and intimidation of a witness. He was ordered to be held at the Berkshire County House of Correction on $50,000 cash or $500,000 surety bail. The incidents allegedly occurred in North Adam between April 30 and July 17, 2013, and involved a 40-year-old woman.
No further information was immediately available.
Updated on November 27, 2013 at 10:40 a.m. with the court actions.
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Pittsfield Police Seize Stolen Handgun In Traffic Stop
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Police seized a stolen firearm during a traffic stop Tuesday morning.
Police posted on Facebook that a car was stopped for traffic violations at 10:20 a.m. and the driver was unable to produce a license. The investigation led to the seizure of a loaded firearm that was reportedly stolen.
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