ONEONTA – Three Mount Vision residents were arrested this afternoon on a variety of charges after investigators observed “suspicious activity” in the WalMart parking lot on Southside Drive, Oneonta.
On Thursday, Dec. 15, investigators observed a suspected drug deal in the Walmart parking lot and observed, in plain view, two pills in a plastic baggie inside the vehicle. They traced the vehicle’s owner, Jason Lee Foster, 33, and determined that earlier that morning, he left an ounce of marijuana that he was going to sell in his unlocked pickup truck in the parking lot. Another individual later went into Foster’s truck, retrieved the marijuana and left $250 in cash.
Foster voluntarily consented to a search of his vehicle. The two pills were determined to be Tramadol, a Schedule IV controlled substance, which belonged to Foster and he did not have a valid prescription for them. The $250 and pills were taken as evidence. Foster was placed under arrest for criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree, a class A misdemeanor. During the arrest, he resisted, refusing to be handcuffed and trying to call his wife while struggling with law enforcement officers. A search of his person incidental to arrest produced another $2,149 in US currency which was also seized as suspected drug proceeds.
His wife, Alice Katherine Foster, 38, arrived at the parking lot as her husband was being arrested. After speaking with agents, Alice walked away from the scene and called their neighbor, Joseph E. Lukeman, 28. Investigation revealed that she asked Lukeman go to their residence and to get rid of evidence.
Deputy Frank Koren, Jr and other investigators responded to the Fosters’ Town of New Lisbon residence to secure the residence pending the issuance of a search warrant. Upon Deputy Koren, Jr’s arrival, he caught Lukeman inside of the house trying to remove processed marijuana and marijuana plants out of the residence and detained him at the scene.
Jason Foster was arraigned that afternoon by Oneonta Town Judge Bruce A. Smith on the misdemeanor drug possession and resisting arrest charges and remanded to the Otsego County Correctional Facility on $2,000 bail. He is scheduled to return to the Oneonta Town Court at 4 p.m. January 28, 2016 to answer his charges.
That afternoon, investigators obtained a search warrant for Fosters’ residence that was signed by Town of Laurens Judge Frank C. Wood. Investigators, special agents and deputies executed the search warrant and located the following evidence: approximately twelve ounces of processed marijuana valued at $3,000; 11 marijuana plants in various stages of growth; $170 in US currency; wooded chukka sticks and an electronic digital scale.
Also found in the residence were numerous long guns and a black powder revolver as well as equipment for indoor and outdoor marijuana cultivation.
This morning, the Fosters and Lukeman surrendered themselves to investigators at the Sheriff’s Office and were arrested on the following charges:
Alice Foster – T/Oneonta Court – tampering with physical evidence, a class E felony, and criminal solicitation in the fourth degree, a class A misdemeanor. She was issued an appearance ticket returnable at 4 p.m. Jan. 19.
Alice and Jason Foster – T/New Lisbon Court – criminal possession of marihuana in the third degree, a class E felony; unlawfully growing of cannabis by an unlicensed person and criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree, both misdemeanors. They were issued appearance tickets returnable at 7 p.m. Jan. 6.
Joseph Lukeman – T/New Lisbon Court – tampering with physical evidence, a class E felony, and criminal possession of marijuana in the fourth degree, a class A misdemeanor. He was issued an appearance ticket returnable on 7 p.m. Jan. 6
Jason Foster and Joseph Lukeman each face up to four years in prison if convicted of their felonies. Alice Foster faces up to eight years of incarceration on her two felony charges.
The investigation is continuing and further arrests are expected.
District Attorney John M. Muehl, Chief ADA Michael F. Getman and ADA William C. Green are prosecuting the cases.