Archives for February 2019

Operation Gravy Train Trial Ends With Plea Deal

A heavily watched trial in the North Country has ended with a plea deal. Karen Johnson reports.

The drug sweep in 2017 known as “Operation Gravy Train” officially came to an end this week when a plea deal was reached in the only trial involving the case. Shaka Williams, who was described as a Gravy Train ringleader, pleaded guilty to felonies half-way through his bench trial in St. Lawrence County Court. The 39 year old from Plymouth, New York pleaded guilty to second-degree conspiracy and third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance. He also pleaded guilty in connection with a separate crime that has been described as “paper terrorism.” Williams was accused of filing fraudulent liens for $4.5 million against St. Lawrence County Judge Jerome Richards as a form of revenge. No sentencing date has been set, but Williams faces a maximum prison term of 9 years. “Operation Gravy Train” focused on heroin, fentanyl, and cocaine trafficking to St. Lawrence County. Raids in June of 2017 resulted in 169 charges against 106 people. Officials praised the effort, saying it closed off a major drug pipeline into the north country. I’m Karen Johnson.


A road rage incident along State Route 9N in the town of Jay…. State Police say 61-year-old John Smith of Jay confronted a man near Ward Lumber Company, after believing the man had been speeding in front of his house. Smith had a wooden baseball bat in his hands when he threatened the man. The man took off in his vehicle, but he said Smith followed him, operating in an erratic manner, attempting to force him off the roadway. Troopers pulled over Smith, who was found to be in possession of the baseball bat. He was taken into custody, arrested and charged with Menacing; Reckless Endangerment; and Criminal Possession of a Weapon. He was released with orders to appear in the Town of Jay Court.


Following a lengthy investigation into allegations of abuse at Sunmount Developmental Disabilities Services Office in Tupper Lake, there has been an arrest. 46 year old Jesse Fletcher of Tupper Lake… according to state police investigators… made several calls to the New York State Justice Center tip line as an “anonymous caller,” to report incidents at a Sunmount unit she supervised. Those calls put her and other staff members on paid administrative leave for an extended period of time and created public alarm to investigate incidents involving vulnerable adults at the facility…. incidents which in fact, never happened. Fletcher was arrested and charged with three counts of Falsely Reporting an Incident Involving a Vulnerable Adult and two counts of Providing a False Written Statement. She was taken into custody, and later released with orders to appear in court.

New Anti-Gun Law Is On The Books

Governor Cuomo has signed a new anti-gun violence measure into law. Karen Johnson has an update.

It happened at a ceremony attended by survivors of gun violence and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The measure, approved by the Democratic led Senate and Assembly earlier this month, creates what’s known as an “extreme risk” protection order. It permits law enforcement, family members and school officials to go to court to seek the confiscation of the guns in the home of an individual that is determined to be a potential risk to themselves or to others. Cuomo, spoke at a ceremony in Manhattan with survivors of gun violence, and relatives of victims who died in mass shootings. He said the legislation, also known as the “red flag” bill, is a sensible provision. “So, when the teacher sees there is a problem, or a family member sees there is a problem and believes that a person could be a danger to themselves or others they can go to a judge. And say, ‘judge, please do an evaluation,’ says Cuomo.


A report of a burglary resulting in an injury to a male victim brought state troopers to 29 Mechanic Street in Norwood, where they found 20-year-old Damien Delfosse, who told them he came home and heard someone in his upstairs room. Delfosse told troopers he grabbed a knife, and walked upstairs to confront whoever was there. Delfosse said he found the other person in his bedroom and that the two began to fight, resulting in Delfosse suffering a laceration to his left shoulder. But then the story changed, and Delfosse told State Police he was in a fight with another person earlier in the day resulting in that injury. That story too, was determined to be false. Delfosse then admitted he lied about both incidents, telling the troopers the laceration was the result of an unrelated event. Delfosse was arrested and charged with one count of Providing a False Written Statement and two counts of Falsely Reporting an Incident. He was then sent to the St. Lawrence County Jail, where he was held in lieu of $1,000 cash bail, or $2,000 bond.

Kindergarten registration opens Friday for Malone Central School District

Starting Friday, you can register your children for kindergarten in Malone. Registration will be held throughout the month of March from 8 a.m to 3 p.m. everyday at the Transportation Center on Bus Garage Lane. The district says if your child is already enrolled in a pre-K program through Malone Central Schools, you do not have to enroll them in kindergarten. A child has to be born on or before Dec. 1, 2014 to be eligible for kindergarten next year. Parents must bring a birth certificate, proof of residency and a vaccination record with them.

Special ID Cards Are Now Available To Some New Yorkers

Special ID cards are now available. Karen Johnson has details.

New York state is now issuing identity cards for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.The free ID cards are designed to help police, firefighters and emergency personnel interact with people who may not be able to communicate effectively.The cards explain that the bearer may have difficulty understanding, following directions or communicating. The back of the card includes identifying information and an emergency contact.A sponsor of the legislation that created the cards, Democratic Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara, was inspired by his son, who has autism.The cards can be requested through the state Office for People With Developmental Disabilities.

Lindy Ellis to seek re-election to Franklin County board

Another Franklin County legislator has announced re-election plans. Lindy Ellis announced Tuesday that she’s going to see another three year term, running in the Nov. 5th election. Ellis is a Democrat from Saranac Lake, who was elected last year to serve out the final year of Barbara Rice’s term. Ellis is the current chair of the county’s Public Safety Committee. Among her priorities, fixing roads and improving North Country Community College. She volunteered to be on the search committee to find a new NCCC president after Steve Tyrell steps down this summer.

Learning Some Lessons From the Botched Deal With Amazon

Learning some lessons from the botched deal with Amazon. Karen Johnson has details.

A week after the Amazon deal in Queens died, New York lawmakers want states to agree to stop using taxpayer money to lure big businesses.The legislators are proposing a measure that would form an interstate compact to end what they call excessive “corporate welfare” for large companies.Among the sponsors is Senate Deputy Majority Leader Mike Gianaris, a leading opponent of the Amazon deal. It would have located part of a second headquarters for the giant online retailer in his district, in exchange for $3 billion in government subsidies. Gianaris admitted there are differences of opinion whether Amazon would have been a good addition to New York. But he said there’s growing agreement that the competition among states – which included private meetings between the company, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to finalize the deal – was the wrong way to go.

Guard hurt at Adirondack Adolescent Offender Facility

A corrections officer at the Adirondack Adolescent Offender Facility was hurt during an unprovoked attack by some teenage inmates on Monday. Union officials say the teens choked and beat a corrections officer until he was nearly unconscious. Prison security staff responded to the disruption, which involved three inmates. Several officers who responded were also hurt while trying to de-escalate the situtation. They were treated and released from Adirondack Medical Center in Saranac Lake. No inmates were hurt, according to the corrections department. Union officials say attacks like this show the need for guards to be allowed to carry pepper spray