On Monday the Ellenville Police Department completed a two-month investigation into alleged drug trafficking in and around the Chapel Street area with the execution of a ‘no knock’ warrant.
The police action, which occurred at approximately 5:30 in the morning at 41 Chapel Street, was performed by eight members of the EPD and netted four arrests including Joshua M. Morales, age 18; Kevin Ramos, age 17;, Carlos Medina (alias ‘Junior’), age 23; and Luis Santiago (alias Banks), age 19.
Upon entering the apartment, police say they found powdered cocaine in the amount of 8.7 grams as well as 15 plastic baggies and one larger bag filled with marijuana totaling 24.2 grams.
In addition to the drugs, police say they also seized packaging materials, a spoon with cocaine residue and two electronic scales that are used in the weighing and distributing of drugs.
EPD officers and Ulster County Sheriffs escort 4 suspects
into transport van. Photo by Stefan Spezio
All four suspects were charged with one count each of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the 3rd, 4th, 5th and 7th degree both felonies and misdemeanors, two counts each of criminally using drug paraphernalia in the 2nd degree, one count each of criminal possession of marijuana in the 5th degree (misdemeanors) and one count of unlawful possession of marijuana.
The suspects were arraigned and remanded to the Ulster County Jail pending further court action.
EPD Chief Phil Mattracion said that the most recent arrests are parts of, “a continuing effort to rid the village of drug trafficking offenses. The mayor and the village trustees have made a commitment to the downtown and outlying areas to accomplish certain goals and objectives.”
After the bust, Mattracion said that this was just one in a series of arrests that had been made in the Kossar Place neighborhood over the last 2 to 3 months. Mattracion estimates that his department has made as many as 10 to 12 arrests in the Mill Street Park for offenses ranging from public lewdness and consuming alcohol to drug use.
Mattracion says that even the arrests for small “quality of life” infractions are important.
“I work off of the ‘broken windows principle’ that former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani talks about in his book. The idea is that if you work to correct the small things, then the big things will fall into place,” Mattracion said.
Some of those ‘small things’ may be assisted by the return of a neighborhood watch to Ellenville’s streets. At a recent board meeting a village resident, concerned with the activities on his street, asked the village board and the chief what he could do to assist in preventing crime. The resident asked if the village had a neighborhood watch program in place.
The mayor asked the chief if such a program was available to which the chief replied that such a program used to exist in the village but had died out. However, the chief did explain that there has recently been a statewide resurgence in the program and said that it would be possible to explore the idea within the village.
Neighborhood watch or not, Mattracion firmly believes that, “everybody needs to be part of the solution rather than the problem,” and that concerned citizens, “should call if they see wrongdoing.
As for his future plans for the force, Mattraction says that, “We will keep taking a proactive policy to community policing and seek out those who violate the law.
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