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Gang suspect denies drug allegation

Gang suspect denies drug allegation

An Amsterdam man whom police believe leads a local chapter of the Latin Kings gang pleaded not guilt

An Amsterdam man whom police believe leads a local chapter of the Latin Kings gang pleaded not guilty to drug charges Wednesday in Montgomery County Court.

David M. Canales, 34, of 83 Academy St., appeared with defense attorney Jeffrey Francisco for arraignment on a four-count indictment handed up last week by a Montgomery County grand jury.

Canales was among a dozen people arrested during a series of raids in November that netted bundles of heroin and quantities of cocaine and marijuana in addition to stolen handguns, cash and several vehicles.

He has been free on $25,000 bail and Francisco asked County Court Judge Felix Catena to adopt the same bail status.

Francisco cited a “limited criminal history” and suggested if Canales was a flight risk, he wouldn’t have been in court that day.

Responding to questions from Catena, Canales said he had one conviction for aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle on his record.

Francisco said Canales doesn’t have a “pro forma” employment history but rather works as a barber at his home and at customers’ homes.

District Attorney James “Jed” Conboy said Canales’ forgot some of his criminal history and said he’d been convicted of possession of stolen property in 2003 and criminal mischief in 2002, the same year for which a bench warrant was issued for him.

Conboy asked Catena to set bail at $50,000 cash or $100,000 bond.

Catena decided he wanted a written investigation on the bail issue and sent Canales to the Montgomery County Jail without bail.

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