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What you need to know for 01/18/2018

Mechanicville businessman sentenced in drug operation

Mechanicville businessman sentenced in drug operation

A former mortgage broker will spend six years in prison for distributing cocaine in Saratoga Springs

A former mortgage broker will spend six years in prison for distributing cocaine in Saratoga Springs.

Robert Allen, 44, of County Route 75 in Mechanicville had pleaded guilty last month to felony criminal sale of cocaine and conspiracy for distributing cocaine and marijuana in the bar and restaurant district on Caroline and Phila streets and Maple Avenue.

Saratoga County Court Judge Jerry J. Scarano sentenced him Thursday to six years in prison and three years of post-release supervision.

Allen had his own mortgage brokerage firm but turned to selling drugs when the recession hit.

Saratoga County District Attorney James A. Murphy III said in a news release that Allen ran his operation like a business and was adept at making contacts and closing deals, usually for a couple hundred dollars. Police began their investigation last year. Authorities said he first sold drugs secretively and then more openly after a while. Officers videotaped his drug deals before arresting him and other people who had contacted him about buying drugs.

Arrested in connection with these drug sales were:

• Edward Fitzgerald, 59, of Union Avenue in Saratoga Springs;

• Heather Chittenden, 38, of Cook Circle in Gansevoort;

• Thomas W. Williams, 40, of Madison Avenue in Saratoga Springs;

• April L. Allen, 34, of County Route 75 in Mechanicville;

• Deborah M. Risso, 50, of Northern Pines Road in Gansevoort;

• Paul M. Fasulo, 68, of Sunrise Drive in Saratoga Springs;

• Thomas J. Bowe, 44, of Russell Road in Schuylerville.

Most have pleaded to misdemeanor offenses and received fines with the condition that they receive a drug evaluation and treatment, according to Murphy. Some people received probation.

David C. Forbes, 43, Lee Street in Ballston Spa, who is Milton’s highway superintendent, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of conspiracy to participate in drug transactions. His case was handled by special prosecutor Paul Clyne because Murphy had to recuse himself.

Two additional people were charged with felonies for assisting Allen in his operation. Jose A. Cruz, 39, of Lincoln Avenue pleaded guilty to attempted third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and received a sentence of three years in a state prison plus two years of post-release supervision.

Thomas R. Kopach, 53, of 132 Kaydeross Drive in Ballston Spa pleaded guilty to third-degree attempted criminal sale of a controlled substance and is expected to receive jail time when sentenced Jan 7.

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