Schenectady County

City man again accused of drug sales

A city man who saw a multiple-felony drug case against him fall apart last year because of the invol

A city man who saw a multiple-felony drug case against him fall apart last year because of the involvement of a discredited police detective is in trouble with the law again, authorities said Friday.

Darryl D. Manning Jr., 26, of Eastern Parkway, was arrested Thursday and charged in connection with crack cocaine sales on two dates in January, according to papers filed in court.

Manning was first arrested in August 2006, accused of five drug sales that summer. He was even identified by police then as a high-level gang member, an accusation Manning’s family and associates fervently denied.

But that case fell apart after the arrest of the lead investigator, then-detective Jeffrey Curtis, on his own drug charges.

After once facing years in state prison, Manning ultimately pleaded to one felony of criminal possession and was sentenced to a shock alternative incarceration program that lasted six months.

In the latest cases, Manning is accused of making two sales to a police informant. He was still on parole from the earlier sentence.

The informant contacted Manning asking for drugs Jan. 17, according to authorities. The two met at State Street and Erie Boulevard and Manning allegedly sold the informant $50 worth of crack cocaine.

Then, on Jan. 22, Manning allegedly again sold $50 worth of crack cocaine to an informant at Union Street and Morris Avenue.

Manning was charged with two counts each of third-degree criminal possession and sale of a controlled substance, felonies.

Public Defender Mark Caruso said his office just got the case and he couldn’t comment on it.

Manning faces enhanced penalties if convicted, based on his prior conviction on the single felony, Schenectady County District Attorney Robert Carney said. First-time offenders face up to nine years on a sale conviction, second-offenders face up to 12 years.

But it was a prior conviction that prosecutors almost didn’t get, Carney said.

It was while prosecutors prepared for Manning’s trial that Curtis was arrested, Carney noted. Curtis is currently serving four years in state prison after admitting to possessing drugs and taking drug evidence from police custody for his own use.

It was a scandal that led to several defendants receiving favorable dispositions. Drugs went missing in a total of 17 cases. Manning faced 15 drug counts himself, involving five alleged sales. He was accused of a series of drug sales in Jerry Burrell Park that summer.

Curtis was the lead investigator.

In Manning’s case, none of the drugs were missing. But Curtis was involved from start to finish, Carney said. Even the informant used in the alleged sales was linked to Curtis’ own drug use.

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