APD gets cash and car after plea deal

The Enterprise — Michael Koff

On display: Wednesday, the Altamont Police displayed the cash — totaling about $4,000 — which the department has kept in an evidence locker at its Main Street station, along with “bath salts,” in the plastic bag at center, and scales, at back, for weighing drugs.

The Enterprise — Michael Koff

Confiscated: As part of a plea deal, Jason L. Rudebush gave up this 2000 Volkswagen Passat he was driving through Altamont on July 15, 2012 when he was stopped for speeding and arrested on felony charges related to criminal possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell.

ALTAMONT — A traffic stop for speeding 16 months ago led to Altamont Police this week displaying a car, drugs, and about $4,000 in cash that it had confiscated.

“It shows we’re not just stopping speeders,” said Officer Christopher Laurenzo, spokesman for the department. “There’s more to it. Drugs are everywhere, even in quiet little Altamont.”

Jason L. Rudebush, then 28, of 2 Francis Lane in Voorheesville, was arrested on July 15, 2012 for three felony charges relating to criminal possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell. He was also arrested for a misdemeanor — criminal use of drug paraphernalia, for having scales — and for several traffic infractions.

Laurenzo said Rudebush was coming back from Camp Bisco, a music festival centered around The Disco Biscuits band.

The arrest report describes events unfolding this way: Rudebush was driving south on Altamont Boulevard at 47 miles per hour in a zone for 30. When Officer Patrick Thomas turned on his emergency lights to make a traffic stop, Rudebush  “sped up and tried to evade police by taking a sharp left turn off of Altamont Boulevard into the Altamont Oaks.”

He then jumped out of his vehicle and started to run, the reports says. Thomas yelled at him to get back in the car, and he did. Thomas noted a “strong smell” of marijuana and saw a bag on the floor, which contained mushrooms.

Rudebush said, “That’s not mine. I don’t know how that got in there,” the report says. There were two passengers in the car: a woman in front and a man in back. The State Police arrived on the scene and, as the backseat passenger got out of the car, police saw “a glass marihuana pipe on the seat where he was seated. He also stated that it was not his,” the report said.

The front-seat passenger got out, too, and police discovered in the center console “a larger amount of mushrooms and 2 baggies within it that each contained an off-white powder substance.” Thomas than found a stack of 20-dollar bills wrapped in a rubber band in the armrest and more money in a wallet in the center console.

Laurenzo said this week that Rudebush “took a plea” and would serve four years.  Until the case was settled, he said, the Altamont Police stored the confiscated goods. The mushrooms went to the Albany County District Attorney’s Office, he said, while the Altamont Police Department stored the scales and “bath salts” — a term used for drugs often sold under the guise of being bath salts because the white crystals look like actual bath salts.

The car, a 2000 Volkswagen Passat, was stored in a garage at the back of the police station on Altamont’s Main Street, Laurennzo said; the drugs and cash were kept in an evidence locker at the station.

“We seized it,” said Laurenzo. “Part of his deal is he’ll lose his car and money.”

Laurenzo said the car will be sold and the money from that as well as the cash will go to village funds.

Asked what would happen to the drugs, he said they would eventually be destroyed by the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Laurenzo, who has been on the Altamont force for seven years, said of the goods confiscated, “For a traffic stop, it’s the biggest I know of.”

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