More Than Half Have Prior Charges

Of the 47 individuals who were part of a 159-count indictment Wednesday for their alleged role in a massive drug distribution network, more than half are repeat offenders.

This so-called “revolving jail cell door” is likely a result of what Captain Robert F. Samuelson, division commander of the Jamestown Police Department, refers to as the “vicious cycle” of drugs.

“People need money to get drugs,” Samuelson said in a previous interview. “So they commit crimes … burglaries, robberies, larcenies. They post bail … and the next day it repeats itself. I would say 90 percent of our crimes are drug-related. They are the nexus to most of our problems.”

The unfortunate reality of recidivism may indeed stifle enthusiasm surrounding this latest bust, since – according to Samuelson – the defendants will eventually have the right to post bail and return to the streets.

In April, the Bureau of Justice Statistics, an agency of the U.S. Department of Justice, released a federal study of recidivism in 30 states – including New York state. The study tracked 405,000 inmates who were released in 2005.

The study revealed that 28 percent of the released inmates were arrested for a new crime within six months. Sixty-eight percent were arrested within three years. And a staggering 77 percent were arrested again within five years.

A similar study by the Pew Center on the States revealed that more than four out of 10 offenders returned to jail within three years of their release.

According to David Foley, Chautauqua County district attorney, the passing of the Drug Law Reform Act in 2009, has had a considerable – and not entirely positive – effect on sentencing.

“In essence, what (this law) has done is taken a lot of the district attorney’s say out,” Foley said when the study was released in April. “Before, we would have to authorize people to go into drug treatment … now second-time drug offenders are able to apply to (rehabilitation programs) even over our objections.”

The Drug Law Reform Act was designed to rectify the controversial Rockefeller Drug Laws of 1973, which many New Yorkers considered too draconian. Named after then-governor Nelson Rockefeller, the laws applied a harsh minimum penalty of 15 years to life in prison for selling or possessing minimal amounts of drugs.

While recent reforms have eased this minimum sentencing down to eight years, they’ve also given offenders greater access to jail diversion programs, which according to Foley, can give criminals expedited – and sometimes questionable – releases.

The following is a list of the individuals involved in the drug distribution network who had previous offenses:

PREVIOUS DRUG CHARGES

Randall J. Rolison, 51, of Jamestown was charged in March for failing to appear on a charge of use and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Leslie Rodriguez, 28, of Jamestown was charged in June with third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and tampering with physical evidence after she was found allegedly flushing heroin down a toilet during a drug raid. In April, she was charged with third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and criminal use of drug paraphernalia after a drug raid.

Jesus J. Suarez, 44, of Jamestown was charged in June with seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and criminal possession of a hypodermic instrument after police allegedly found heroin, needles and drug paraphernalia in his truck.

Olga E. Santiago, 49, and Doris F. Ramos, 25, both of Jamestown, were charged in June after two simultaneous drug busts at their respective apartments allegedly found them in possession of heroin, cash and drug paraphernalia.

Joshua Van Ord, 20, of Lakewood was charged in November 2012 with unlawful possession of marijuana. In November 2013, he was similarly charged with criminal possession of marijuana.

Eddie N. Robles, 49, of Jamestown was charged in September 2009 with third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance after he reportedly threw a sock containing cocaine and heroin outside a second-story window. In June 2013, Robles was charged with theft of service after allegedly tampering with a fire hydrant to fill a large inflatable pool.

Ricardo O. Ramos, 27, of Jamestown was charged in August 2008 with second-degree criminal impersonation and unlawful possession of marijuana after a traffic stop in Jamestown. In May 2010, Ramos was charged with violating the terms of his post-release supervision, testing positive for marijuana.

Frank J. Orazio, 24, of Cassadaga was charged in October 2008 with unlawful possession of marijuana and unlawful dealing with fireworks after a traffic stop in Sheridan. In January 2013, he was charged with fifth-degree criminal possession of stolen property in Charlotte. In August 2013, he was charged with petit larceny after shoplifting from the Lakewood Kmart.

Roberto Morales-Sanchez, 45, of Jamestown was charged in April with third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and criminal use of drug paraphernalia after a drug raid. He was charged in January 2009 with third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance after a traffic stop in Jamestown.

John M. Grilla, 28, of Jamestown was charged in May 2013 with driving while intoxicated, driving with ability impaired, failure to keep right, possession of a hypodermic needle and three counts of seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance after police found him unresponsive in his vehicle.

Luis A. DeJesus, 29, and Neftali Cintron, 51, both of Jamestown, were charged in February 2013 with felony third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance after police discovered heroin sales at their residence.

Stephen Bush, 33, of Jamestown was charged in February with third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, possession of a hypodermic needle and tampering with physical evidence after police found him with heroin during a traffic stop. In December 2008, Bush was charged with third-degree rape and unlawful possession of marijuana after he allegedly engaged in sexual activity with a 15-year-old female victim.

Neftali Benitez, 33, of Jamestown was charged in July 2011 with third-degree stalking and second-degree criminal impersonation after allegedly following a woman and taking a photo under her dress. In June, he was charged with violation of probation for second-degree unlawful surveillance.

PREVIOUS

MISCELLANEOUS CHARGES

Walter M. Westerdahl, 33, of Jamestown was charged in August 2013 after allegedly stealing from another Falconer resident. He was charged in December 2013 after allegedly stealing $3,985 in cash from a Falconer residence.

Jonathan Ribbing, 27, of Lakewood was charged in November 2010 with third-degree aggravated unlicensed operation and not wearing a seatbelt during a road check in Hanover.

Moises J. Lopez-Encarnacion was charged in May 2012 with unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle after a medical issue caused him to crash his vehicle.

Bryan E. Bobe, 25, of Jamestown was taken into custody in February after leading police on a high-speed chase through the city. He was charged with 15 separate charges including two felony counts of first-degree reckless endangerment, aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, reckless driving, speed not reasonable, failure to yield to an emergency vehicle and nine other traffic charges.

Samantha M. Dilallo, 26, of Randolph was charged in July 2013 with failure to keep right, moving from lane unsafely, driving across hazard markings, driving while intoxicated and DWI with blood alcohol content of .18 percent or greater after a traffic stop in Hanover.

Carlos Encarnacion, 59, of Jamestown was charged in June 2012 with fourth-degree welfare fraud, two counts of first-degree offering a false instrument for filing and misuse of food stamps.

Edwin Velasquez, 53, of Falconer was charged in July 2008 with first-degree burglary, first-degree criminal contempt, third-degree assault, fourth-degree criminal mischief and endangering the welfare of a child after he allegedly assaulted a female victim. In September 2009, he was charged with second-degree criminal trespassing after he allegedly walked into a stranger’s apartment. In April 2010, he was charged with obstructing governmental administration after he allegedly refused to cooperate with police during a domestic incident. In November 2013, he was charged with petit larceny after allegedly shoplifting a Rite Aid pharmacy. In June 2008, he was charged with petit larceny after allegedly shoplifting at the same Rite Aid.

Luis A. Garcia, 42, of Jamestown was charged in November 2013 with second-degree criminal contempt after violating an order of protection.