"Operation Spring Cleaning" nets dozens of drug arrests in Ulster County

Above: Images from a photo gallery of arrests made during the recent URGENT investigation "Operation Spring Cleaning," posted on the Ulster County Sheriff's Office's Facebook page

Over three dozen arrests were announced with great fanfare on Wednesday by the Ulster County Sheriff's Office, the result of a seven-month-long undercover investigation into drug sales by the Ulster Regional Gang Enforcement Narcotics Team (URGENT) dubbed "Operation Spring Cleaning." 

The Sheriff's Office and other URGENT members held a press conference at the Ulster County Law Enforcement Center in Kingston at noon to discuss the arrests. Police believe many of the drugs targeted in the sweep were coming into Ulster County from the New York City area, said Ulster County Lieutenant Ed Brewster, according to the Daily Freeman, which sent several reporters to cover the event live with online video clips.  Read more

Armed woman threatening suicide causes shutdown of Route 212 in Woodstock

Above: A Lenco armored state police vehicle brought in to assist with a situation on Route 212 on Monday, in which police crisis teams arrested a woman who was armed with a handgun and threatening suicide. Photo from the Woodstock Fire Department's blog.

A stretch of Route 212 in the Woodstock hamlet of Lake Hill was closed to traffic for about five hours on Monday morning and early afternoon, after police received a report of a woman firing an illegal handgun and threatening to harm herself, according to a report in the Daily Freeman. 

The Freeman's Diane Pineiro-Zucker has the story

Christine Becker, 62, of 4062 Route 212, was arrested about 3 p.m. and charged with misdemeanor criminal possession of a weapon and with a violation of the state’s mental health law “as a danger to herself,” said state police Senior Investigator Stan O’Dell. He said police recovered the handgun.  Read more

Four-year-old struck in Kingston hit-and-run

Police are looking for the driver of a car that struck and critically injured a four-year-old child in a Kingston street on Thursday evening, then fled the scene of the accident. 

Around 10:10 p.m. on Thursday night, the four-year-old was crossing Koenig Boulevard near Spring Brook Village when he was struck. Police say that witnesses on the scene saw a dark-colored vehicle pulling away from the scene, headed southbound on Koenig Boulevard, but are unsure whether the vehicle was involved in the accident. 

The child is currently in critical condition at Westchester Medical Center, Kingston city police said in a news release.  Read more

Two caught using heroin in Jeffersonville parking lot

Two young Pennsylvania residents were arrested on Wednesday after state troopers caught them doing heroin in a Jeffersonville parking lot, according to a police news release

The pair -- 19-year-old Andrew Ott of Equinunk and 20-year-old Chelsey Metz of Beach Lake -- were charged with seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, criminally using drug paraphernalia, and criminal possession of a hypodermic instrument. They were both arraigned in Liberty town court and remanded to the Sullivan County Jail, in lieu of $3,500 cash bail. Both are scheduled to appear in Callicoon town court on April 1. 

The image of heroin as an urban problem is eroding in upstate New York, as the drug makes new inroads into even the tiniest towns and villages; Jeffersonville, a village of just over 350 people, is about as rural as it gets. Many locals involved in healthcare, social services and law enforcement believe that heroin use is a growing epidemic in the rural Catskills.  Read more

Hurley standoff ends in arrest

A man who allegedly barricaded himself in his estranged wife's house in Hurley, threatening to shoot anyone who came in after him, was arrested Wednesday after a three-hour standoff with police.

The man, 45-year-old Edward Dixon of Sawkill Road in the town of Kingston, was wanted by police for an incident that occurred at his wife's house the previous day, according to a news release from the Ulster County Sheriff's Office.

Around 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday night, Ulster County police responded to a report of a domestic disturbance at the house on Kovacs Drive in Hurley. Dixon was not there when police arrived, but an investigation found that he had entered the house without his wife's permission, fought with her in front of two children, and taken her phone to prevent her from calling 911. Deputies got a warrant for Dixon's arrest.   Read more

DEP murder suspect David Reese indicted

David Reese, an employee of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection who stands accused of fatally shooting his coworker in February, was indicted by an Ulster County grand jury on Tuesday, several news outlets report. 

The shooting occurred in the DEP's Kingston office, early in the morning of Monday, February 3. Police say the 53-year-old Reese, a stationary engineer at the department who lived in Gilboa, shot and killed 33-year-old Aron Thomas, a watershed maintainer from Olivebridge.  Read more

State police raid Windham town hall

So far, there are more questions than answers in the Greene County town of Windham, where state police conducted a raid on the town hall on Friday in which computers were seized. 

The Daily Mail reports that town officials are keeping mum about the raid. Supervisor Stacy Post -- formerly the town's chief of police -- gave the paper only a brief statement: 

Town Supervisor Stacy Post, contacted by cell phone on Friday afternoon, confirmed, “there is an investigation,” and provided no further information.

Greene County's acting district attorney, Charles Bucca, described the raid to the Daily Mail as part of an "open investigation into potential criminal offenses," but did not elaborate.   Read more

Olive woman charged with stabbing

A Shokan woman has been jailed on felony assault charges, after an incident in which police say she stabbed a family member in the back with a kitchen knife. 

Around 11:30 p.m. on the night of Friday, March 21, Ulster County police got a call from Kingston Hospital that the hospital was treating a stabbing victim. Upon investigation, police found that a domestic dispute had occurred at 3382 Route 28 in Shokan, in the town of Olive. During the dispute, 42-year-old Michaeline Zager stabbed a family member in the back with a kitchen knife, police said in a news release.

The victim, who was not identified, was taken to Kingston Hospital in a private vehicle and did not have life-threatening injuries, police said.

Ulster County sheriff's deputies arrested Zager at the house on 3382 Route 28 without incident. She is charged with second-degree assault, a felony, and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon, a misdemeanor.   Read more

Plattekill man was dealing heroin with a 6-year-old in the house, police say

A house on 850A South Street in the town of Plattekill, the home of a convicted man on probation, has earned a reputation for drug dealing in the neighborhood. On Friday, a police search of the house turned up heroin, cocaine and guns, along with a six-year-old child.

Acting on complaints about heroin dealing at the house, officers from the Ulster County Regional Gang Enforcement Narcotics Team (URGENT) made a probation home check on Friday, March 21. A search of the house found 70 bags of heroin, cocaine, a loaded shotgun, a rifle, a stun gun and roughly $2,600 in cash.

The resident, 29-year-old Mark Nugent, shoved a probation officer and struggled with police when they arrived at his home, according to a statement by the Ulster County Sheriff's Office. The child, who police say was in Nugent's care, was in the house at the time.   Read more

Tello's Green Farms owner arrested after chickens found dead

For over a decade, Tello's Green Farms has been a well-known producer on the Catskills local food scene, and a beloved vendor at the New York City Greenmarket. Customers rave about Tello's eggs; restaurant chefs wax rhapsodic about their marigold-orange yolks.

The egg farm, started by Colombian native Nestor Tello in 2000, is home to several thousand chickens who forage on pasture in large open-air coops. Tello farms in Coxsackie and Red Hook. Last September, a writer from the food blog Nona Brooklyn visiting Tello's Coxsackie farm found his chickens happily pecking at grass and scratching for bugs -- an experience most commercial egg-laying hens never get.

But when state police showed up at Tello's farm on Route 9W in Coxsackie on March 9, they found a very different scene: A farm littered with dead and starving chickens. 

  Read more

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