The use of meth continues to be a growing problem in New York state. But local, state and federal authorities hope their latest bust will stop that trend. Two dozen people from Madison, Oneida and Oswego counties were indicted Tuesday. As our Katie Gibas reports, authorities say those indicted represent some of the largest Meth manufacturers, distributors and users in Central New York.
CENTRAL NEW YORK -- This video shows just what can happen when even the smallest of errors is made during the production of meth.
"It creates a public safety threat. It can cause contamination of an area. It can cause significant harm to responders who come to the scenes of one of those labs," said Richard Hartunian, a U.S. Attorney.
Joseph D'Amico, the New York State Police Superintendent, added, "It's really horrible stuff. We have to keep working to rid our community of this drug and other drugs. Methamphetamine is such bad stuff. It represents a tremendous risk, even to the criminals we arrested today who cook this stuff up. It's a tremendous danger to the people who live in the area where they make it. To our law enforcement who have to respond and do law enforcement at these labs."
The bust is the culmination of a yearlong investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice, the New York State Police and law enforcement officials in Madison, Oneida and Oswego counties. Twenty-four people were indicted for the possession of pseudoephedrine with the knowledge it would be used to make meth.
Authorities say meth has been an increasing problem across the state. Already this year in New York State, there have been 65 clandestine meth lab incidents reported, compared to 45 for all of 2011.
"Hopefully with today's arrests, it will send a message out that we in Madison County take this very serious and we're going to step up our enforcement efforts. We are going to make this a top priority for all law enforcement in Madison County to calm this down and take control of the situation," said Allen Riley, the Madison County Sheriff.
David Meeker, the Oneida Police Chief, added, "This multi-agency effort was designed to and accomplished making our communities safer from the dangers of meth. From the neighbor who unknowingly has a meth lab next door that's volatile to the victims of crimes that are perpetrated by those trying to support their meth habits."
Authorities say those indicted are some of the largest meth manufacturers, distributors and users in Central New York, and many of them are related.
"Once one family member gets hooked on meth, it's easy to coop other family members into trying the drug. Because it's so widely addictive, we have a number of family members, brothers, sisters, in-laws all involved," said Carl Eurenius, an Assistant U.S. Attorney
Twenty-four people were indicted, 16 were arrested Tuesday morning, five were already in jail and another three are still at large from Madison, Oneida and Oswego counties.
They all face up to 20 years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine.
- Anthony R. Battles, 23, Parish
- William J. Corcoran, 35
- Joshua A. Drummond, 24
- Laurie Fuller Burdick, 42, Florence
- Laurie Gervais, 47, Parish
- Stephanie Hold Ostrander, 32, Mexico
- Tracy L. Jennison, 39, Chittenango
- Wanda Kingsley, 47, Florence
- Thomas M. Laplante, 45, Durhamville
- Ronald E. McEarthron, 36
- Kenneth W. McGuinness, 33, Florence
- Timothy S. Peck, 34, Fulton
- Frank A. Pennisi, 47, Oneida
- Andrew A. Rayder, 23, Richland
- Terry L. Ross, 51, Florence
- Casey L. Spadter, 29
- Leonard Seth Spadter, 32, Canastota
- Jessee L. Stevens, 24, Annsville
- Meagan N. Stimpson, 24
- Theresa A. Strobeck, 30, Blossvale
- Adam P. Wilson, 32, Florence
Still at large:
- Todd C. Coleman, 42, Blossvale
- Theresa M. Pearson, 49, Durhamville
- Cy Rayder, 28, Williamstown