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Hilltown Archives — The Altamont Enterprise, September 22, 2011

“Something of an anomaly”
Deputies find $3K worth of cocaine during Westerlo traffic stop

By Zach Simeone

WESTERLO — A routine traffic stop here led to the seizure of $3,000 worth of uncut cocaine and the arrest of two young men last Friday.

“We have no idea where it came from,” Acting Sheriff Craig Apple of the Albany County Sheriff’s Office said of the cocaine, “but it appears it had been cut off, let’s say, a kilo. It came off a large brick. This is uncut, so it was relatively high quality. It came from a very good source; we’re sure of that.”

On Sept. 16, at about 10:30 a.m., a deputy had pulled over a car being driven by Neil T. Wallace, 20, of Freehold, on Route 32 in Westerlo, according to a release from the sheriff’s office.

“He had some sort of blockage on the front windshield, something hanging from his rearview mirror,” Apple said of Wallace, “which is not the end of the world, but it is a Vehicle-and-Traffic violation.”

In the car with Wallace was Andrew D. Tobin, 20, of Greenville, police say.

There was a pipe used for smoking marijuana in plain sight, which, Apple said, was probable cause for the deputy to search the car, leading to the discovery of 21 grams, or three-quarters of an ounce, of powdered cocaine.

“I can’t say we’ve seen anything like this in the Hilltowns, more so in the surrounding towns,” Apple went on. “We’re always making crack-cocaine arrests, paraphernalia arrests, usually involving younger kids, unfortunately. But, this might be something of an anomaly. I’d hate to think this means this kind of cocaine is floating around the Hilltowns.”

The deputy also found a small quantity of marijuana, a weight scale, and $1,100 cash in the car, Apple said.

Both men were arrested at the scene, and have been charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell, a Class B felony; third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, a Class B felony; seventh-degree criminal possession of controlled substance, a Class A misdemeanor; and unlawful possession of marijuana.

“We don’t know if they were on their way back from picking it up, or delivering it,” Apple said of the cocaine, adding that both men have been “very uncooperative” with the investigation.

“Typically, cocaine sells for $60 to $70 a gram, and if it’s better cocaine, it would go upwards to $80 or $90 a gram,” said Apple. “This is of a relatively pure quality — not pure, but a high quality, based on it just recently being broken off a larger brick.”

Wallace and Tobin were arraigned at Westerlo Town Court, where bail was set at $20,000 each. Both Wallace and Tobin posted bail, and are to appear in court at a later date, according to a release from the sheriff’s office.

“Their lawyers are probably going to postpone it a few times,” Apple said. “I’d imagine, after a few cancellations, it’ll get kicked down to county court.”

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