Pubdate: Sun, 23 May 2004
Source: Ogdensburg Journal/Advance News (NY)
Copyright: 2004 Johnson Newspaper Corp.
Author: Krestia DeGeorge
Bookmark: (Cannabis)


Troopers: Man Struck Patrol Car And Fled

POTSDAM - A pursuit from the St. Regis Mohawk Reservation to the River
Road in Potsdam early Saturday morning ended with police taking a
Western New York man into custody and seizing 400 pounds of hydroponic

State police investigators said it is the largest marijuana seizure
ever in the North Country.

A man from Marion, Wayne County, is in the St. Lawrence County
Correctional Facility without bail and facing state and federal
charges after he allegedly rammed a tribal police patrol car on the
St. Regis Mohawk Reservation and led police on a lengthy chase through
the towns of Bombay, Brasher, Norfolk and Potsdam.

He was stopped by St. Regis Mohawk Tribal police while traveling west
on state Route 37, near the four corners in Hogansburg, shortly before
2 a.m. Saturday, according to state police.

As tribal police patrols approached his GMC Suburban, he allegedly
drove the SUV into the patrol car and then fled the scene, heading
south on the North Road, said troopers.

He was pursued by tribal police and a unit from the U.S. Border Patrol
to Helena, where he turned on to county Route 56 towards Brasher
Falls, state police reported.

He eventually abandoned his vehicle in a private driveway on the River
Road in Potsdam and fled on foot, he was captured after a brief foot

A second vehicle that had been stopped on the reservation with the SUV
managed to flee, and authorities say they have not been able to locate
the vehicle or its driver.

When state police searched the SUV, they say they allegally discovered
about 400 pounds of hydroponic marijuana.

State police say the drugs have an approximate street value of $1

A state police investigator said the SUV was literally "filled to the
gills" with 21 garbage bags containing marijuana. Investigators
believe the marijuana was headed from Canada to Western New York.

He was taken into custody by officers from the state police Narcotics
Enforcement Unit and Massena-based U.S. Drug enforcement
Administration officials, with assistance from the St. Lawrence County
Drug Task Force and St. Lawrence County Sheriff's Department deputies.

The drug investigation will be handled by DEA officials, who
reportedly will be pursuing charges in U.S. District Court, said troopers.

Federal statutes for possession of large quantities of marijuana are
much harsher than the state statutes.

Investigators say a so-called "mule" transporting the marijuana from a
pickup point on the Canadian border to a location outside the North
Country is typically paid $50 to $100 a pound for the marijuana that
reaches its destination.

Under those rates, a driver carrying 400 pounds could be paid up to
between $20,000 and $40,000, according to a state police investigator.
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