Dozens arrested in Plattsburgh drug sweep - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Dozens arrested in Plattsburgh drug sweep

Plattsburgh, New York - December 16, 2010

It's being dubbed the largest drug bust in upstate New York in five years. Nearly three dozen accused drug dealers received wake up calls from police Thursday morning.

It was a busy day at the Clinton County Courthouse. Following their early morning arrests, the accused drug dealers were brought to court to face a judge.

"If you were a drug dealer in the city of Plattsburgh, you had a bad day today," DEA Agent James Burns said.

More than 70 law officers were up early to arrest dozens of accused drug dealers throughout Clinton County. A total of 31 people were arrested following a year-long investigation by local, state and federal authorities. They are accused of selling pot, cocaine, oxycodone and other prescription medication.

"You are seeing a larger scale of drugs being sold in the community, and that's why we have a few more individuals taken into custody," Clinton County District Attorney Andrew Wylie said.

Authorities say a big focus of the sweep was to bring prescription medication dealers off the street. Like many places, prescription medication is becoming more popular because it is easier to obtain.

"The word to get out there is if you are dealing with these pills, you are going to be arrested just as if you are dealing pot, crack," N.Y. State Police Lt. Charles Potthast said.

While the drug raid was in process, Plattsburgh City Police actually had to respond to a man who had overdosed on prescription medication.

"The victim is alleged to have taken some sort of pharmaceutical drug, overdosed. When he was found, he was barely breathing," Plattsburgh Police Chief Desmond Racicot said.

The dealers rounded up are for the most part low-level players in the drug game. None of them have been arrested in previous drug sweeps.

"We will never take each and every drug dealer off the street, but this is certainly a good crack at it," Wylie said.

The accused drug dealers face anywhere between 2 and a half years to more than 30 years behind bars if convicted.

In addition to the 31 arrests, five other people were busted on federal cocaine charges. Police say Reginald Alexander, 51, and Jeanette Taylor, 37, both of Plattsburgh, participated in a crack distribution ring with three other men from Troy and New York City.

Matt Henson - WCAX News

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