News of Otsego County

Serving Otsego County, NY, through the combined reporting of Cooperstown's Freeman's Journal and the Hometown Oneonta newspapers.



Seward, Salka Say Nay To Legal Pot


Seward, Salka Say

Nay To Legal Pot

2020 Session To Start Wednesday

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to


If marijuana is legalized in the state legislative session that begins today, it won’t be with the help of Otsego County’s delegation.

“It’s not my issue,” said state Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, who said he is “responding well” to cancer treatments, and expected to be in his Albany office on opening day.

“I would hate to move forward on that, particularly with those advocating for the increased revenues — $300 million,” said Seward, now in his 32st two-year term.   “It’s not worth it, because it would cost us a lot more in different ways.”

For his part, Assemblyman John Salka, R-Brookfield, who represents Oneonta and Cooperstown, said there’s a “50-50 split” on legalization of marijuana.  “I would vote against it,” he said.

Marijuana Law Prudent Step. Maybe, Just Maybe, Enough


Marijuana Law Prudent Step.

Maybe, Just Maybe, Enough

This year’s wild and crazy one-party bloc in Albany may have, by failing to reach it’s ultimate goal, achieved a sensible outcome in one area.

Governor Cuomo Monday, July 29, signed legislation that reduces the penalty for unlawful possession of marijuana under 2 ounces from felony to violation.

The penalty: a $50 fine for less than an ounce to a maximum of $200 for one to 2 ounces. (Above that, dealing’s involved, and stronger penalties kick in.)

It also erases the records of people convicted of possessing small amounts in the past. You may remember: The original goal of the Democratic majority was to create a massive commercial enterprise, with pot stores peppering Main Streets from Brooklyn to Butternuts.

Greed – how to split the huge anticipated revenues – and suburban soccer moms created an impasse.
Pot, of course, is part of our modern landscape. Sending junior to the Big House on finding a joint in his pocket is nonsense. So is creating another Big Tobacco – Big Pot?

Maybe the measure Cuomo signed Monday is just enough. Let’s leave it alone for a while and see how it plays out.

Marijuana Stronger Today, Expert Says At Workshop

Marijuana Stronger Today,

Expert Warns At Workshop

Ben Cort, a Substance Use Disorder treatment expert from Colorado, shows a chart depicting the sharp increase in the average level of THC in marijuana over the past 40 years, from 2.5 to 10 percent, during his presentation, “Marijuana 2019: Commercialization, Community, and the New Normal,” at the Quality Inn today. Regular users of marijuana will rejoice hearing about the increase in the average level of THC and will no doubt be looking for the most THC potent strains. As an example, the khalifa kush thc percentage is 29% in some phenotypes! Obviously, this doesn’t mean all cannabis strains are high in THC. Many strains are higher in CBD than THC which are better for medicinal purposes, whilst others have an incredibly high percentage of THC. It’s all about being knowledgable on marijuana and the different extracts; for example, shatter is an extract that is very high in THC, with levels of 80% or higher. With the state set to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in the next year, LEAF sponsored the event so local business and political leaders, human services and health professionals, and educators could learn about the impact of legalization on cannabis use, both recreational and medicinal, and abuse. It’s been noted in the industry that dispensary packaging has evolved in a way that doesn’t play on the previous negative views of the product – instead, it makes light of known slang names for it as well as other associated phrases. Whilst marijuana is still regularly used recreationally, you may find that many people from around the world tend to use this substance and in different forms, like CBD oil, for medicinal reasons such as stress, depression, and pain, to name a few. With the continued growth in its use, it highlights just how far the industry has come in a relatively short amount of time. “We need to understand the big differences between how marijuana was used 40 years ago and how it’s used now,” Cort said. “Not understanding that and not taking cannabis use seriously is doing a disservice to those calling for help with their addiction.” (Jennifer Hill/
Troopers Charge S.C. Driver Over Unregistered Gun, Pot

Troopers Charge S.C. Driver

Over Unregistered Gun, Pot

Devin Smith

WORCESTER – Troopers arrested a South Carolina man on gun and marijuana charges after pulling him over on I-88 in the Town of Worcester, Troop C reported today.

Last Friday, officers pulled over Devin I. Smith,  26, of Irmo, S.C. for speeding, and found an unregistered gun and a 15-round magazine in the glove compartment, the press release said.  In New York State, it’s illegal to have more than 10 rounds in an magazine.

Sheriff’s Deputies Seized Mushrooms, Marijuana, From Car


Sheriff’s Deputies Seize

Mushrooms, Marijuana

Marijuana and psychedelic mushrooms were allegedly found in a car being driven by Skyler Blass and Treyton Hathaway.
Skyler Blass
Treyton Hathaway

ONEONTA – Otsego County Sheriff’s deputies arrested two teenagers and seized three pounds of psilocybin mushrooms and five pounds of marijuana after locating a vehicle that had allegedly fled the scene of an accident over the weekend.

Skyler D. Blass, 19, Otego, and Treyton J. Hathaway 18, Oneonta, were arrested after Otsego County Sheriff’s Deputies were alerted by Otsego County 911 to be on the lookout for a vehicle that had fled the scene of a crash in the Town of Davenport.


We Must Decide

If We Want Them Here



County Board Must Give OK To Pot Stores

You can smoke it in Otsego County if marijuana is legalized – but can you sell it?
Legislation now being considered in Albany would legalize use of recreational marijuana statewide, but individual counties must decide whether dispensaries would be permitted to sell pot.
If such dispensaries were approved, the City of Oneonta, towns and village would be able to decide where they are allowed, when they can be open, and other aspects of their operation. Residents may be pleased to know that purchasing marijuana over the internet is gaining traction meaning that the need for a physical dispensary is reduced. Those who wish to Buy Weed Online can use sites like Triple Loud to do this.
Otsego County Rep. Meg Kennedy, C-Mount Vision, a new member of the state Association of Counties’s board, got a crash-course on legal pot’s prospective complexities at NYSAC’s 2019 Legislative Conference at the end of January.

100 Marijuana Plants Seized In Morris Raid

100 Marijuana Plants

Seized In Morris Raid

Christian Balmaceda
Joseph Ali

MORRIS – Two men were arrested and 100 pounds of marijuana seized after the Otsego County Sheriff’s Department raided two indoor growing operations in Morris and New Lisbon.

Christian Balmaceda, 47, Morris, and Joseph D. Ali, 49, New Lisbon, were both arrested after an investigation lead the Sheriff’s Deputies and the DEA to search the residences of both men.

Gun, Pot, LSD Found In Worcester Home

Pistol, Pot Plants, LSD

Found In Worcester Home

Joseph Dibenedetto

WORCESTER – A 44-year-old Worcester man was arrested after Otsego County deputies responded to a tip that he had an unregistered handgun and was growing marijuana in his residence.

Joseph C. Dibenedetto, 44, was arrested after deputies, including K9 Ricky and members of the sheriff’s Criminal Investigation Division and Road Patrol,  served a warrant at his home on Lutheranville Road in Worcester.

Two Arrested For Possessing Cocaine, Marijuana

Driver, Passenger Arrested

On Coke, Marijuana Counts

Brandon Richardson
Brandon Richardson
Kayla Kipper
Kayla Kipper

EXETER – A driver and his passenger were both arrested for possessing marijuana and cocaine after a traffic stop in the Town of Exeter.

Brandon S. Richardson, 20, of Ilion, was stopped by troopers for allegedly driving 60 mph in a 45 mph zone on Route 28 near Schuyler Lake.

On approaching the vehicle, troopers reported they smelled marijuana inside and conducted a search, finding 10 grams of cocaine, more than 10 grams of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

Traffic Stop Yields 3 Arrests, 4 Bags of Heroin

Springfield Traffic Stop Yields

4 Bags of Heroin, 3 Arrests

Michael Clapper
Michael Clapper
Kimberly Clapper
Kimberly Clapper
Austin Yaw
Austin Yaw

SPRINGFIELD – Three Springfield residents were charged with possession of heroin and marijuana after a traffic stop on State Highway 80.

Just before 5 p.m yesterday, a county Sheriff’s investigator made a traffic stop on a vehicle being driven by Kimberly Clapper, 29, Springfield Center. During the investigation, four knotted baggies of heroin and drug paraphernalia were recovered. Clapper, as well as her two passengers, Michael Clapper, 38, and Austin Yaw, 21, both of Springfield Center, were all taken into custody.

Xanax, Marijuana Seized in Elm Street Bust

Xanax, Marijuana, Seized

In Dawn Raid on Elm Street

Suspected Xanax, marijuana and cash were seized by police in an early-morning raid on Elm Street.
Suspected Xanax, marijuana and cash were seized by police in an early-morning raid on Elm Street.
Nicholas Monaco
Nicholas Monaco
Gregory Garcia
Gregory Garcia
Glen Carey
Glen Carey

ONEONTA – Police are reporting that a raid in an Elm Street home at 6:45 this morning led to three arrests for possessing $1,500 worth of Xanax, $4,000 worth of marijuana and $100 in counterfeit bills.

Glen Carey, 21, Malverne, Gregory Garcia, 21, Franklin Square, and Nicholas P. Monaco, 21, Nyack, were charged with the class D felony of Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the 5th degree for possessing the Xanax pills at their 9-11 Elm Street residence in the City of Oneonta.  Using a search warrant, police also allege they uncovered a quantity of marijuana, $4,000 cash  and two counterfeit $50 bills. 

2 Men Arrested In Cooperstown Raid On Heroin, Marijuana Related Charges

2 Men Arrested In Cooperstown Raid

On Heroin, Marijuana Related Charges

COOPERSTOWN – Two Cooperstown men, Ryan R. West, 22, and Timothy L. Pirone, 20, were arrested this morning after a raid of their apartment at 43 Pioneer St. and charged with “a multitude of drug-related charges,” Village Police Chief Michael K. Covert announced.

Village police received information in early September of suspected drug possession and usage in the 43 Pioneer, Covert said in a press released.   Officers and the District Attorney’s Office investigators developed probable cause and obtained a search warrant from Otsego Town Judge Leslie B. Friedman.

At 7 a.m. today, members of the Otsego County Sheriff’s Office Special Enforcement Bureau and K-9 unit executed the no-knock warrant, assisted village officers, D.A. investigators and sheriff’s investigators.

In 10 Days, Deputies Seize Marijuana Worth $112,000

In 10 Days, Deputies Seize

Marijuana Worth $112,000

Libby Cudmore • The Freeman’s Journal

Edition of Thursday, Dec. 11, 2014

Sheriff Devlin examines a caches of the suspected drug at his Middlefield headquarters. (Ian Austin/The Freeman's Journal)
Sheriff Devlin examines a caches of the suspected drug at his Middlefield headquarters. (Ian Austin/The Freeman’s Journal)

‘Tis the season for seizing at the Otsego County Sheriff’s Department.

“Growers are moving their marijuana plants and harvesting before the hard frost hits,” said county Sheriff Richard Devlin. “So we concentrate with multiple resources and try to wrap everything up.”

In the last two weeks, county Sheriff’s investigators has made three sizable marijuana busts, including nearly 13 pounds seized Friday, Nov. 28 in a mobile home on Pegg Road in Morris. Whilst in other areas of the country, people are able to legally use and purchase 2000mg cbd oil and similar products, it is not the case in this region.

In that case, Michael Deluca and Sallie Lewis Jacoby were arrested and charged with criminal possession of marijuana. “That’s the largest bust this year,” said Devlin. “It was way more than for personal use. There’s a big difference between getting caught with a joint and having 13 pounds.”

Four days earlier, Richard Patalona, owner of Let it Grow nursery in Cherry Valley, was arrested for possessing four and a quarter pounds of marijuana and $11,000. “We’ll seize cash if we believe it’s directly attributed to a drug operation,” Devlin said. When people buy weed online canada to smoke, it’s not so much a big deal but when there is a whole farm and lots of cash involved, it becomes a very big deal.

And on Tuesday, Dec. 2, James Chicorelli, Morris, was arrested for possessing nearly seven pounds of freshly cut and dried marijuana, deputies reported.

The marijuana has to be dried and weighed before a decision can be made on the level of charge to be filed. Afterwards, the marijuana disposed of by incineration.

In all, the three busts totaled 25 pounds and $112,000 in street value. In Otsego County, an eighth of an ounce will sell for $35, an ounce for $280, according to Senior Investigator Mike Ten Eyck, the department spokesman.

An Estimated $112,000 In Pot Seized Locally In Past 10 Days

An Estimated $112,000 In Pot

Seized Locally In Past 10 Days

A marijuana leaf.
A marijuana leaf.

A Morris man, James Chicorelli, 56, was arrested Tuesday by county Sheriff’s investigators for possessing nearly 7 pounds of marijuana in a Town of Morris residence on Oct. 1, sheriff’s Senior Investigator Mike Ten Eyck announced today.

The arrest results from the third sizeable seizure of alleged marijuana by Otsego County deputies in the past several days, including 13 pounds last Friday in another Morris home and more than 4 pounds in a Cherry Valley home a week ago Wednesday. If you however live in a legal state or location and you’d like to stay up to date with all news regarding medical marijuana and in particular the compound responsible for the majority of marijuana’s medical effects – CBD, you can look Here. After looking at the medical effects of marijuana, if you are still interested in purchasing it then you can take a look at mo dispensaries and check out the medical marijuana cards which will be great!

The total seized in the past 10 days adds up to almost 25 pounds, or 400 ounces. At the $280 per ounce street value estimated by Ten Eyck, the alleged product seized to date is worth $112,000.

Deputies Allege Man, Woman Had 13 Pounds Of Marijuana

Deputies Allege Man, Woman

Had 13 Pounds Of Marijuana

A Pittsfield man and Morris woman – Michael Deluca, 55, and Sallie Lewis Jacoby, 62 – were arrested Friday by Sheriff’s Office investigators for possessing 12.85 pounds of marijuana in a Town of Morris home on Oct. 1, Senior Investigator Michael Ten Eyck announced today.

Sheriff’s investigators received information that marijuana was in Jacoby’s Pegg Road residence and located Deluca and a bedroom full of freshly cut marijuana in the mobile home. After drying, the cache weighed nearly 13 pounds, according to the report.

On the street, Ten Eyck said, 1/8th of an ounce can bring $35, which would translate into $280 an ounce or $4,480 a pound, although larger amounts can be sold at a discount.

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