An Oppenheim man was apparently under the influence of the hallucinogenic designer drug called “bath salts” earlier this week when he walked around a Dolgeville neighborhood with a loaded rifle and yelled incoherently, according to police.
Daniel Nellis, 39, of 174 Hoffman Road, surrendered to Fulton County sheriff’s deputies around 6:30 a.m. Monday and was taken to a hospital for a mental health evaluation, said Dolgeville Police Chief Richard Congdon.
During the investigation, police found more than 170 firearms inside a home at 53 Dolge Ave. where Nellis told police he was staying.
Police have not filed charges against Nellis, but Congdon said his department is continuing its investigation. Dolgeville is taking the lead in the investigation because Nellis’ actions occurred in Congdon’s jurisdiction, the chief said.
Congdon said Nellis began walking around Dolge Avenue about 3:30 a.m. Neighbors alerted police about three hours later, he said.
During the time Nellis wandered the neighborhood with a loaded rifle he would crouch down and yell, “Are you a burglar?” or “Are you a Peeping Tom?” or “They’re never going to take me!” Congdon said.
When he was taken into custody, Nellis told police he had been taking bath salts, Congdon said.
Police found the guns when they entered the Dolge Avenue home to see if Nellis was there. Congdon said there were 100 rifles and 70 handguns inside. “I have never removed so many weapons at one time,” he said.
The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is helping Dolgeville police check the weapons to make sure none are illegal.
“Some of them may be collectibles,” Congdon said. “There is no law that limits how many guns you can have.”
Handguns must be registered in the state, but not rifles.
The emergency department at St. Mary’s Healthcare in Amsterdam has been swamped by people suffering medical complications from use of “bath salts” and synthetic marijuana, a hospital official said.
Authorities in Fulton County said bath salts may have been a factor in the death of 54-year-old Kathryn M. Jackson, whose bruised and naked body was found June 4 along a dead-end road in the town of Mayfield. Investigators are awaiting toxicology reports to determine the cause of her death. Statewide, several deaths have been attributed to bath salts, according to the Upstate New York Poison Center.
Designer drugs are chemical compounds synthesized to resemble the active ingredient in often illegal drugs. Bath salts mimic the drug khat, a stimulant. Synthetic marijuana is created by spraying a chemical compound of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, on ordinary plant leaves. Manufacturers frequently change the designer drug’s chemical composition and its name to stay one step ahead of federal authorities.