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July 27, 2012 - 11:49am
posted by Daniel Crofts in batavia, Jackson Square, fundraiser, live music, Don Carroll.

T-Shirts, Etc. and the Batavia Business Improvement District (or "the BID") will present "DC in the Square," a benefit for local philanthropist Don Carroll, on Sunday from noon until 4 p.m. It will be downtown at Jackson Square.

Carroll, who is well-known locally for raising thousands of dollars on behalf of underprivileged youth, was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in April.

Brian and Beth Kemp of T-Shirts, Etc. have known Carroll for several years and helped him every year with Toys for Kids, an annual toy drive Carroll founded to purchase Christmas presents for children who might not otherwise receive them.

"When I found out about Don's cancer," Beth said, "I went to Brian and suggested we host a benefit. Because he has helped so many people, I thought it would be awesome for the community to be able to give back."

They approached the BID to ask if they could use Jackson Square as the venue. The BID went even further and agreed to sponsor the event.

"DC in the Square" will feature live performances by three bands: "Old Hippies," "Soul Craft" and "Savage Cabbage," plus a Chinese auction and a 50/50 raffle.

Items included in the auction and raffle will include all kinds of goodies donated by several local businesses, including:

  • Clothing apparel from Lamb Farms (Oakfield)
  • A goodie basket from Oliver's Candies
  • T-shirts and gift certificates from The Batavian

Coffee Culture Manager Brenda Richardson, who is also helping out with the event, said that M&T Bank has donated money, which they may use for a kids' basket or something similar.

Clor's Meat Market will be providing BBQ dinners for $9. People have their choice of chicken, rib or pulled pork dinners. Each dinner comes with a roll, butter, and two out of the following three sides:

  • Salt potato
  • Coleslaw
  • Macaroni salad

Tickets can be purchased at the Square on July 29 or in advance at the following Batavia locations:

  • T-Shirts Etc., 111 Main St.
  • Clor's Meat Market, 4169 W. Main St. Road
  • Coffee Culture, 6 Court St.

A minimum $2 donation is asked of everyone at the gate.

Jerry Foster, a former teacher and lifelong friend of Carroll's, provided an update on his condition.

"He's completed his third cycle of chemo," Foster said. "He is starting to be able to swallow a little bit, though not much. ... He will be going back to Strong Memorial Hospital to see if the tumor has shrunk enough that they can operate on it."

For more information about "DC in the Square," contact Brian and Beth Kemp at 345-1993 or email [email protected].

Picture courtesy of Brian and Beth Kemp.

July 27, 2012 - 8:23am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Darien.

Samantha M. Williams, 31, of 218 State St., Batavia, is charged with resisting arrest and false personation. Batavia PD contacted Williams at 8:58, Thursday, in an attempt to execute an arrest warrant out of the Town of Hamburg on charges of resisting arrest and obstructing governmental administration, 2nd. When Batavia PD officers attempted to arrest Williams, she allegedly gave a false name and then allegedly resisted arrest. Williams was issued an appearance ticket for city court and turned over to the Hamburg PD.

Nicole Marie Paddock, 24, of Liberty Street, Warsaw, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Paddock is accused of striking a female friend as the exited the concert at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center parking lot at 10:30 p.m., Thursday.

July 26, 2012 - 9:29pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, fire.

A caller reports to emergency dispatch that flames 20- to 30-feet high are shooting from a stand in the parking lot of Ferrellgas at 655 Ellicott St. City fire personnel on scene say it looks like a controlled burn. An off-duty firefighter reported that a "burn off" was being conducted at the company.

July 26, 2012 - 7:28pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, baseball, sports, Oakfield, Alabama.

Submitted by Scott Gayton:

Oakfield-Alabama defeats the Batavia Yankees to win the Junior/Senior Championship Title. The final score was 4-3. Front row from left: Coach Joel D'Alba, Jordan D'Alba, Andrew McIntyre, Tristian Korzelius, Cole Phelps, Cameron Dayka. Back row: Coach Scott Gayton, Zach Gayton, Allen Chatt, Danny Dinsmore, Austin Fisher, Chris Nanni, Hunter Spiotta, Josiah Yantz, Manager Bruce Chatt.

July 26, 2012 - 3:52pm

Yesterday our story on the raid at The 420 Emporium contained information from an affidavit we obtained that had been filed in support of a search warrant request.

It turns out, that affidavit came out of the Northern District of the U.S. Attorney's Office. Today, we obtained a copy of the affidavit from the Western District, which includes Batavia, Brockport and Rochester.

Below is some of the information that is specific to the WNY affidavit, presented in the order it appears in the affidavit, omitting information covered in the previous affidavit and concentrating on items relevant to Batavia:

  • Product obtained at the stores allegedly contained controlled substance analogs known as alpha-PVP, Pentedrone, MPPP, UR-144, and AM2201.
  • The first undercover purchase was May 10 at the Brockport store. The agent inquired about "Snowblind" and "Rave." The agent paid $60 for the products and left. Tests showed the products allegedly contained Pentedrone.
  • On July 19, an undercover agent again entered the Brockport store and noticed packages of synthetic marijuana were no longer available. The agent inquired about a product called "Da Bomb." A clerk reportedly said the store did not carry the product anymore because it had been outlawed. A second clerk said the problem was the packages didn't contain a surgeon general warning and the first clerk allegedly said that somebody would "repackage that shit in like a month or two and send it back out, you know that," and the second clerk added, "You know it's going to be the same companies, different name."
  • The first alleged controlled purchase by agents in Batavia was July 2. Two undercover agents entered. The first agent inquired about Amped, Pump-It and Spice. A store clerk allegedly said the Batavia location was out of Pump-It but the Rochester store might have it. UC-1 asked if a different synethetic cannabinoid had the same watermelon flavor as "Mr. Happy." The clerk allegedly said that was like "comparing apples to oranges." The UC asked for a recommendation and the clerk said she could not recommend anything, saying "people like what they like." The agent reportedly recognized face-down packages of Amped on the counter, so asked if there was any Amped available. The agent purchased one package of Amped for $65.
  • The second agent requested a synthetic cannabinoid known as "Purple Haze." The agent said one of the product made his girlfriend's stomach sick and asked what product might make someone's stomach sick. The clerk said she didn't know and added that the product was not supposed to be used for human consumption. The clerk then sold the agent a package of "Purple Haze" for $21.60. The affidavit notes that agents made it abundantly clear they intended to use products for human consumption and the female clerk was reluctant to talk about it.
  • On July 16, two undercover agents entered the Batavia store. The first agent asked for a packet of Snowman and the clerk said the store was out of it. "The clerk further stated the brands Rave and Snowman tested positive in 'field test,' " the affidavit says. "When asked if they had anything like it the clerk said he could not lead the agent in any one direction, but then, in a not-so-subtle fashion, displayed an empty packet of Amped." The agent said he had taken "Amped" before and tried to purchase one package for $54. When the agent couldn't produce ID, the other agent allegedly made the purchase.
  • The second agent then inquired about G-13. The clerk said the product was illegal. The agent asked if any was still in stock and the clerk allegedly responded that they had "Da Bomb" and "WOW" in stock. The first agent then said, "we need papers." The clerk said he could not sell the product and papers in the same purchase "because I have to assume it is going to be consumed," allegedly adding, but "you can go outside and come back." Agent one allegedly made the synthetic cannabinoid purchase, left the store while the second agent waited, returned 10 seconds later and bought papers. 
  • During the July 16 undercover buy, the clerk advised the agents 420 Emporium had been in the news recently about bath salts. The clerk allegedly explained that he would only get into trouble if he sold bath salts for human consumption.
  • The Amped was not being kept in plain view, the agent notes in the affidavit. A sign read, "All products are intended for their legal purposes only. Any mention of illegal activity will not be tolerated. Thank you."
  • During an alleged buy in Rochester, a clerk reportedly told an agent that there were 16 remote cameras in the store that were monitored by the owner from his home.
  • The affidavit notes that the Batavia store had been subject of multiple police reports from concerned citizens and community activists. The report makes note of, but not by name, the arrest of Nicole Lang for alleged trespassing. The incident spawned increased media attention on the store and led to a protest at the location, the affidavit notes.
  • Michelle Condidorio, Joshua Denise and Austin Szczur are all named in the affidavit as suspects for arrest.
July 26, 2012 - 2:18pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, synthetic drugs.

Raids conducted in 109 cities around the United States yesterday were the result of local law enforcement asking for help in dealing with an exploding synthetic drug problem, the head of the Drug Enforcement Adminsitration said today during a press conference in Washington, D.C.

"There was an outpouring of requests to the DEA from chiefs and sheriffs throughout the country asking for our help," said DEA Administrator Michele M. Leonhart.

The press conference was carried live on DEA's website.

While there is work to be done to cut off the supplies of synthetic drug chemicals from China and other parts of Asia, it was the pleas for help from people in the United States that prompted the DEA to lead the first-ever nationwide crack down on the synthetic drug trade, called "Operation Log Jam."

"In this first take down, we wanted to go after the locations that are most impacting our communities," Leonhart said.

Operation Log Jam was a combined effort by the DEA, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), with assistance from the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the FBI, Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Criminal Investigations, as well as countless members of state and local law enforcement.

In total, 91 people were arrested, more than 4.8 million packets of synthetic cannabinoids (ex. K2, Spice) and the products to produce nearly 13.6 million more, were seized. Agents also confiscated 167,000 packets of synthetic cathinones, "bath salts," and the products to produce an additional 392,000 packets.

Of course, part of Operation Log Jam was the raids on The 420 Emporium location in Batavia, as well as the other four stores in the chain and the home in Greece of the stores' owner(s).

The operation was the largest of its kind in the history of the DEA, Leonhart said.

July 26, 2012 - 1:27pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, brockport, synthetic drugs, bath salts, The 420 Emporium.

Previously we published a story looking at the communities that had head shops alleged to be selling synthetic drugs and those villages that had no such establishment.

As part of the process, we requested an interview Brockport Chief of Police Daniel Varrenti -- several times. At one point, we got the message back that he was out of the office until Thursday.

Yesterday morning as I stood outside The 420 Emporium on Ellicott Street, Batavia, and knew the same sort of raid was taking place in Brockport I thought, "ah, this is why the chief didn't want to talk to me until Thursday."

This morning, Varrenti apologized for not getting back to me. He was in fact concerned about discussing The 420 Emporium prior to the raids.

This morning while awaiting my own appearance on "Kimberly and Beck" radio show on "The Buzz," I heard a Brockport resident talk about how many people in the community there were concerned about the 420 allegedly selling bath salts and that just like in Batavia, dozens of people drove down Market Street yesterday cheering on law enforcement during the raid.

Varrenti confirmed this morning that there were people in the community concerned that the 420 might be selling synthetic drugs and were requesting police action. He said, however, as a law enforcement issue, his officers did not handle many calls similar to what we've seen in Batavia involving bizarre and violent behavior.

There were calls, he said, involving bizarre behavior, but it was never established that they were related to bath salts.

His officers, he said, weren't necessarily looking for a connection to bath salts.

"I know I've read reports where people might have denoted some psychological problems, but we do not know if it was the result of synthetic drugs," Varrenti said.

"How do we know we haven’t come across 20 of these things, but because there was no law broken all we’re going to do is bring in the person to be evaluated for (his or her) mental health and we’re never going to know what the problem was," Varrenti added.

Varrenti said as a 33-year veteran in law enforcement including more than a dozen years as a narcotics detective, many people in the community know him as an expert in narcotics.

"If I'm a quasi-expert in anything," Varrenti said. "It's narcotics."

With that background, people were looking to his department especially to do something about the perceived problem at the 420.

"Why can't you take care of this problem we have here?" Varrenti said people would ask him.

"It's very difficult because these investigations take a long time," Varrenti said. "We don't want to lock up the clerk behind the counter. We want to get to the distributor or the importer. I'm not a patient person by nature and I can only imagine what it's like for a member of the community who has a family member (who is using bath salts), and we've gotten those complaints."

In one of the affidavits used to secure search warrants for yesterday's raids,* community complaints in Brockport are used as a justification for the search.  Varrenti provided DEA agents with an email from a community member who said "it is killing our children" and implored Brockport PD to do something about it.

*NOTE: There were two affidavits used for search warrants yesterday, one for the Northern District of the U.S. Attorney's Office and one for the Western District.  Yesterday, we only had the Northern District affidavit. Today we obtained the Western District affidavit, which is full of information specific to Batavia that was not in the Northern District affidavit. In a separate post later today we'll share information from that affidavit.

July 26, 2012 - 10:14am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, synthetic drugs, bath salts, The 420 Emporium.

Michelle Condidorio Joshua Denise

The three clerks employed by The 420 Emporium and arrested Wednesday by federal agents have already been arraigned on charges that could send them away for as much as 20 years.

But with an investigation that's still pending and boxes and boxes of evidence to sort through, the defendants may yet find more charges piled on.

Authorities are especially interested in hearing from any potential witnesses who may have purchased synthetic drugs from the clerks, later ingested them and wound up in the hospital as a result.

The sentencing guidelines for people convicted of selling a controlled substance or its analog that leads to serious bodily harm requires a mandatory minimum of 20 years in a federal penitentiary.

"The judge has no choice," said William Hochul, U.S. Attorney for Western New York, during a press conference in Batavia on Wednesday evening. "You have to go to jail for at least 20 years and up to life imprisonment. As we’ve indicated in court, we believe that there is a possibility of that kind of sentence in this kind of case regardless of whether we proceed under the Analog Act or Title 21."

Taken into custody Wednesday were Joshua Denise, 37, a Batavia resident, Michelle Condidorio, 30, of Le Roy, and Austin Szczur, 22, of Rochester.

Denise and Condidorio are believed to have been employed at The 420 Emporium's Batavia location and Szczur reportedly worked in Brockport.

All three are suspected of selling packages of a product that contained alpha-PVP, a chemical that is an analog to MDPV. They are charged with possession with intent to distribute, and distribution of, a controlled substance analog.

MDPV became a controlled substance July 9 when President Barack Obama signed into law an act to ban a wide range of chemicals that are believed to be used in the synthetic drug trade.

An analog of a controlled substance is a chemical that has the same or similiar effect on a person as an illegal drug and was sold with the intent of human consumption.

"This stuff in the DEA’s eyes is just as bad as methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin," said James Burns, assistant special agent in charge for the DEA. "When you’re charging $60 for a 3-gram pack of some of this stuff and it’s labeled glass cleaner or plant food or bath salt, I mean that raises a red flag with me.

"It should raise a red flag with any rational individual because we all know you can go down to the five-and-dime and buy a box of bath salts for far less than 60 bucks, or a bag of potpourri for far less than what these substances are being sold for."

The alleged sale of these synthetic drugs appears to have been quite lucrative for Charles Darwin Fitzgerald, who is the owner of The 420 Emporium chain of five stores, according to federal authorities, and his live-in girlfriend Amber Snover, who has proclaimed herself the owner, on Facebook and in a public meeting, of at least four of the stores.

The couple's home at 21 West Hills Estate in Greece is worth at least $224,000.

Authorities say they recovered more than $700,000 in cash from the six locations raided by law enforcement Wednesday.

Authorities displayed potato-sack-sized bag of cash at the press conference, stuffed full of bundles of cash in denominations from $5 to $100.

Investigators said they couldn't publicly indentify at this time which location that bag of cash was seized from, but news reporters on the scene of 21 West Hills Estate yesterday said they saw officials carrying a large sack of cash from the Fitzgerald/Snover residence.

Neither Fitzgerald nor Snover were arrested Wednesday and so far are facing no federal charges.

They are free to reopen all five of their stores today. 

All of their employees who were arrested were released from custody following their arraignments.

Officials reportedly, however, seized all of the computer and electronic communication devices in the possession of Fitzgerald and Snover, including mobile phones.

The search warrant also reportedly allowed authorities to seize any written records.

With the investigation still pending, DEA agents will presumably be looking for evidence that connects Fitzgerald and Snover to knowledge of actual sales to the public or possession of a controlled substance.

According to a search warrant affidavit, the owner or owners of the 420 were able to monitor activity in the stores via remotely operated cameras.

Burns said the only reason people sell synthetic drugs is to make money.

"Even though something is called legal doesn’t make it safe," Burns said. "These are chemicals that have never been tested on either animals or humans.

"We have no idea what the long-term effects of these substances will be, and trust me ladies and gentlemen, the folks who are selling these substances and manufacturing this stuff, they’re not in it for humanitarian reasons or altruistic reasons. That (Burns pointed to the bag of money) right there is why they’re selling thses substances."

Local and state law enforcement officials spoke to the problems synthetic drugs are causing in neighborhoods and said they have presented a serious public safety hazard and difficult law enforcement problem.

"They’re manufactured in so many different ways you don’t know what's in the contents of these packages until you actually go and test them," said Major Christopher Cummings, Troop A commander, State Police. "You don’t know the reaction that can occur when a person consumes (these products) so it makes it difficult at our level in trying to address this situation.

"Some of the drugs in these packets here may be a controlled substance under New York State penal code, but then again they may not. Our federal partners are critical in addressing this fast-moving situation that we’re in."

Hochul praised the community support in alert law enforcement to what was happening with bath salts in their neighborhoods and said that law enforcement will continue to need community support if the potential damaging effects of illicit drugs is to be minimized.

"We in law enforcement will never be able to arrest our way out of any narcotics problem, including synthetic drugs," Hochul said. "I think with the public’s assistance in identifying (the availability of) these substances in these packets as being sold in the community then they can at least help to identify targets for us."

Lt. Jim Henning, Batavia PD, said the community cooperation and support as the bath salt problem seemed to spread throughout the city in recent months has been tremendously helpful.

"It’s very reassuring when the majority of your community realizes the danger that these drugs pose to the entire community," Henning said. "We’re just extremely happy with the events that took place today in our community because we realize on a daily basis the effect it has on our community and on our citizens."

July 26, 2012 - 12:54am
posted by Robin Walters in batavia, Announcements.

In an economy where many people are losing their jobs or their benefits are being cut, many individuals or families find themselves without dental insurance.

On Friday, July 27th, Dr. Russ Marchese Jr and Dr. Marcela Morales-Ross and their staff will be offering a free dental clinic at their office which is located at 401 East Main Street, Batavia.  They will be providing free cleanings, fillings and extractions for anyone who does not have dental insurance. The clinic will run  from 8 Am to 3 PM.

The clinic is part of Care-A-Van Ministries Annual Caring for the City Day. This is a day where local agencies and churches come together to care for the community.

Other agencies and chuches that will be on hand with free services and information will be Community Action, Cornell Co-Op, Catholic Charities, Fidelis Care, Mental Health Agency, Genessee Cancer Services, Salvation Army, Compassionate Friends, P. C. Publications, Smoke Free  NowProgram, Emmanuel Baptist Church, Living Waters Apolostic Church and local beauticians will be providing free hair cuts.

All children under 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian in order to receive care. Proof of ID is required. 

 

July 25, 2012 - 7:36pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, crime, Le Roy.
Michelle Condidorio Joshua Denise

Two Genesee County residents and one person from Rochester were arrested on suspicion of possessing -- with intent to distribute, and distribution of -- a controlled substance analog, synthetic marijuana.

U.S. Attorney General William J. Hochul Jr. announced this afternoon that Joshua Denise, 37, of Batavia, and Michelle Condidorio, 30, of Le Roy, were arrested and charged along with 22-year-old Austin Szczur, of Rochester.

The charges carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a one million dollar fine, or both. If the substances as described in the criminal complaint caused serious bodily injury, the punishment will be a mandatory 20-year incarceration and a maximum of life in prison, if convicted.

A full report from Howard with information from the DEA and State Police will be published tomorrow.

July 25, 2012 - 4:40pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, synthetic drugs, bath salts, The 420 Emporium.

A 30-something woman walked out of the 420 Emporium at 400 Ellicott St., Batavia, this morning and told a police officer standing near the door, "Well, I picked the wrong day to come here."

Minutes before, at precisely 11:30 a.m., law enforcement officers from multiple agencies and led by an agent from the federal Drug Enforcement Administration swooped into the head shop and executed a search warrant aimed at finding evidence of illegal synthetic drug sales.

Two people believed to be employees of the 420 Emporium were taken into custody and four boxes of product marked "DEA Evidence" were removed from the store.

The raid was an apparent coordinated effort by DEA agents throughout the United States to go after the distributors of "bath salts" and other synthetic drugs.  News reports from around the country so far report bath salt-related raids in Boston, Albuquerque, Tampa, Texas and Utica.

The 420 shops in Brockport and Fulton were also raided as was the home of Charles Fitzgerald and Amber Snover at 21 West Hills Estate, Greece (mailbox, inset photo, courtesy Sean Carroll, WHAM13).

A warehouse in Tonawanda was also raided and WIVB reports it was allegedly a major distribution point for synthetic drug-trafficking throughout Western New York. Fawzi Al-Arashi was arrested at his Amherst home in connection with that raid.

The names of the two people taken into custody in Batavia this morning have not been released, nor do we know yet what federal charges they might face. They were transported to Rochester federal court for arraignment.

Authorities at the scene of the raid were not able to confirm what substances, if any, were found. We can only report that investigators -- which included agents of the Local Drug Enforcement Task Force and the State Police -- were inside the shop for two hours. DEA agents entered with flat, folded boxes and left with boxes seemingly packed to the brim of items retrieved from inside the store.

One male believed to be an employee of the store was inside at the time of the raid. A second woman showed up about 12:45 p.m. and spoke briefly with a trooper outside the shop, giggling nervously and saying she came by "to see if I still had a job."

Less than two minutes after she entered the shop she was sitting in a chair with her hands cuffed behind her back.

The same woman had been in the shop and behind the counter seemingly waiting on a customer when a reporter from The Batavian entered the store on July 17.

While Batavia PD were on scene, numerous members of the community drove by the location on Ellicott Street and honked, gave thumbs up and yelled "good job" at police officers.

"It’s very nice to see the community is supporting the efforts that we are doing here today," said Chief of Police Shawn Heubusch.

Heubusch said the DEA enforcement effort was indeed a welcome one for the community.

"This is a big relief for the City of Batavia as a whole," Heubusch said. "The residents in this community have been plagued by a problem with bath salts. To see this effort, to see that the federal government has noticed this, it is a very big relief to the residents of the city and the police department."

Asked if it felt like it took awhile for DEA to act at a time when current laws kind of tie the hands of local law enforcement, or if the DEA action seemed swift, Heubusch said, "The old saying ‘good things come to those who wait’ applies here. As with any criminal action, you need to get all of your ducks in a row and make sure you’re on good legal solid ground. I think they acted swiftly in this case."

The actual investigation into 420 Emporium appears to have taken about two-and-a-half months, according to an affidavit filed in federal court in support of a DEA request for a search warrant.

The affidavit states that a confidential informant helped supply information about the operation of the 420 shops, the practices of its owner, identified as Charles Darwin Fitzgerald, and supplied possible evidence to agents.

According to the affidavit, Fitzgerald was previously involved with the Look A Hookah shop in Rochester and that the informant has witnessed Fitzgerald provide synthetic drugs to people to sample and test so he could determine the effect on the people and the effectiveness of the product.

Fitzgerald is reportedly romantically involved with Amber Snover and they have at least one child together and both reside at 21 West Hills Estate in Greece.

Fitzgerald is identified as the sole owner of the 420 locations in Brockport, Fulton, Rochester, Henrietta and Batavia.

The affidavit focuses on two types of "Amped" allegedly sold at the 420 stores. 
There is an older product that is a white powder and a newer product that is an off-white powder. Both products are allegedly distributed by a company out of Tempe, Ariz., called Dynamic Distribution.

DEA agents intercepted two shipments headed to Rochester. Allegedly, one was specifically addressed to "Amber" at 21 West Hills Estate. (The phone number associated with the shipment is one digit off, with a an "8" where a "3" should be for the number The Batavian used to request an interview with Amber Snover earlier this week.)

The second box allegedly listed the same recipient as the first box and notes the second box required a COD payment of $23,500.

The first box weighed 22.9 pounds and was allegedly shipped from John Freeman, 3360 Annapolis Lane North, Suite A, Plymouth, Minn. 

The DEA requested and received a search warrant in order to seize the packages.

Inside, agents allegedly found 2,000 grams of "Amped Exuberance Powder," 500 grams of "White Water Exuberance Powder" and 495 grams of "Snowman Glass Cleaner."

A lab test allegedly found the Amped contained alpha-PVP, benzocaine and caffeine, and those same substances were allegedly found in the other products as well.

Alpha-PVP is apparently an analog (something like -- and under the Federal Analog Act like enough to -- a controlled substance that it's illegal to sell) of MPDV, which was made a federally controlled substance July 9 and has been a controlled substance in New York for nearly a year.

Over the past two-and-half months, according to the affidavit, agents have made a series of undercover buys at all five 420 locations.

During the undercover operation, agents noticed each of the 420 locations had security cameras that the DEA believes allowed a person at a remote location to monitor activities at the stores.

Undercover buys of Amped were allegedly made in Brockport and Batavia on July 2 and July 3.

At other 420 locations, clerks are alleged to have detailed conversations with undercover agents about the use of specific synthetic drugs, including Amped.

Bottom photo, 21 West Hill Estate in Greece, the residence of Charles Fitzgerald and Amber Snover. Photo courtesy Sean Carroll, WHAM13.

July 25, 2012 - 12:21pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia.

A little while ago, an elderly man was reportedly walking down Main Street in Batavia with a pistol stuck in the front of his pants. His jacket was open and you could see "the weapon." A police officer told dispatch he had already spoken with the man, who was not packin' heat after all. He was conveniently carrying his fold-up cane, in case he needed it.

July 25, 2012 - 11:42am
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, crime, synthetic drugs, bath salts, The 420 Emporium.

The 420 Emporium on Ellicott Street in the City of Batavia was just raided by the local Drug Enforcement Task Force, agents of the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, the Batavia Police Department, and State Troopers.

UPDATE 11:56 a.m.: This is one of a handful of raids being conducted in Central and Western New York at locations suspected of selling bath salts. Howard, who is on scene, says that when this went down neighbors came out and cheered the officers on, and one person shouted "We've waited a long time for this!"

UPDATE 12:03 p.m.: A few minutes ago, City Councilwoman Rosemary Christian drove by and yelled "Fantastic!"

UPDATE 12:07 p.m.: Any charges resulting from this raid will be federal.

UPDATE 12:57 p.m.: An employee showed up to work at the store and was immediately arrested.

UPDATE 1:21 p.m.: All units are clear from this location.

July 25, 2012 - 8:57am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Police.

Over the past week or so the Batavia Police Department has taken delivery of two new cruisers.

The cars are based on the Ford Taurus but are officially known as Police Interceptors. The models are specifically designed for police work with all-wheel drive, specially designed traction control and suspension and special safety features for officers.

Batavia purchased the vehicles as part of a bid arranged by the county at a base cost of $23,000 each. The Sheriff's Office also has three of the vehicles on order.

Two Crown Victorias in the police fleet were used as trade-ins on the new vehicles.

Pictured with the cruisers are Officer Kevin DeFelice, left, and Officer Marc Lawrence.

July 25, 2012 - 8:42am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Town of Batavia Fire Department.

The Town of Batavia Fire Department's annual Harley Raffle is Saturday and there are fewer than 120 tickets left.

Volunteers will be at the fire hall every evening between now and Saturday and if you haven't purchased your tickets yet -- or want to purchase more -- the members invite you to stop by and make a purchase.

Tickets are $20 each and enter you into a drawing for the Harley or $10,000 cash.

The big party begins at 8 p.m. and will feature music by 7th Heavan and food from Alex's Place along with a beer tent. If there are any raffle tickets still available Saturday night they can be purchased at the event prior to the drawing.

In the picture from left, Paul Dibble, Dan Koziol, Adam Mullen and Russ Borden.

July 25, 2012 - 7:54am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, downtown.

The way Russ Walker sees it, the day is coming when the government bans the internet sale of electronic cigarettes, just as the state has done with tobacco cigarettes.

When that happens, Walker said, storefront locations offering the modern alternative to tobacco-based products will be in a good position to grow.

A couple of weeks ago, Walker opened R.W. Vapors at 224 Ellicott St., Batavia.

E-cigs are cigarette-shaped devices that are designed to deliver the sense of smoking. They contain a liquid that is heated and vaporizes. The liquid can be flavored and may contain nicotine in varying amounts, from none to a heavier concentration, depending on the preference of the consumer.

"I can't make health claims about e-cigarettes," Walker said. "It is an alternative to tobacco. You're not getting all of the carcenogens. There's no combustion."

Typically, e-cig smokers are people who want to get away from smoking tobacco, or use the product as a bridge toward quitting cigarettes.

While Walker sells novelties as well in his store, he said he won't knowingly sell his product as a novelty to somebody just looking to experiment with e-cigs.

"This isn't for anybody who isn't already on some form of nicotine," Walker said. "I don't recommend starting a nicotine habit if you don't already have one."

Walker also won't sell to minors, even though a state law regulating the sales of e-cigs based on age won't go into effect until January.

As for the liquid, Walker said he mixes all of the liquid himself.

"It's not imported from China," he said. "It's all made locally."

Walker said he sells a variety of flavors and can make custom-order mixes.

As for the novelties -- what he carries in his shop are decidedly old-school pranks and jokes. He said he knew his shop would need to offer a variety of products besides e-cigs so he picked a product line he said he's always enjoyed.

The store also carries some jewelry -- charms and bracelets.

July 25, 2012 - 7:08am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.

The man suspected of at least one local church burglary went missing for about 30 minutes last night inside the Genesee County Jail.

Jail officials noticed at about 11 p.m., Tuesday, that John A. Cabrera Jr., 22, of Batavia, wasn't in his confined area inside the jail.

In accordance with escape procedure, deputies and Batavia police officers set up a perimeter around the jail at 14 W. Main St. and began a search for Cabrera.

The search included the Sheriff's K-9 unit.

About 30 minutes later, Cabrera was located hiding within the jail building.

Cabrera was transported to UMMC for treatment of minor cuts and then returned to the jail.

State troopers assisted at the scene.

The Sheriff's Office is investigating the alleged escape and the District Attorney's Office will be consulted today regarding possible criminal charges.

Following his arrest on a burglary charge, Cabrera was accused of damaging property inside the holding cell at the Batavia PD headquarters.

July 24, 2012 - 9:59pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Holland Land Office Museum.

As I was out and about this morning, I kept seeing this group of youngsters in bright red shirts, walking this way and that, hither and yon, and going all about town.

While I was at city hall about 1 p.m., here they came again.

Ann Marie Starowitz was leading the group.

It turns out the 19 students are part of the Holland Land Office Museum Summer History Camp. Today was their first day and they went to the Batavia Cemetery and the Richmond Memorial Library to get a start on their study of local historical figures.

July 24, 2012 - 9:37pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, downtown.

Robert Brown, an Albion resident, stands with his hot dog cart outside Batavia City Hall on Tuesday afternoon.

It's been about a decade since the city has approved permits for street vendors, but recently decided to start issuing them again.

Brown and his partners jumped on the opportunity and were the first vendors approved for a permit.

They've been running hot dog carts in Orleans County for a number of years.

"We found out the city was going to allow street vendors," Brown said. "It's been a while since it's been allowed, but we thought this would be a great city (for a hot dog cart)."

The hot dog stand opened on Friday and Brown said he and his partners will operate the cart from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday offering hot dogs, hamburgers and sausage.

July 24, 2012 - 6:09pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.

Two homes in the City of Batavia were recently burglarized during the day and Batavia PD is reminding residents to report suspicious activity.

The homes were on Manhattan Avenue and Chase Park and the break-ins were reported Tuesday and Monday.

The homes were unoccupied at the time and jewelry and cash were stolen.

No further details were released.

Batavia PD can be reached at (585) 345-6350.

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