October 22, 2008

Local Police Attribute Rise in Arrests To Campaign Against Drugs, Violence

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In a series of drug-related arrests over the last few months, Ithaca Police have arrested multiple suspects on unrelated accounts in hopes of curbing the drug trade and curtailing violence.
The IPD detained three men and two teenagers last Friday after they found a handgun and what looked like a package of narcotics during a routine traffic stop, according to The Ithaca Journal. The group was stopped on the 200 block of West Seneca Street around 10 p.m.
The police are attributing this arrest to a recent campaign aiming to curb violence in Ithaca.
Enacted 11 days ago, the campaign created a “violence suppression detail” in response to “recent shots-fired calls and other crimes against persons,” The Journal reported. Police officials referred to West End shooting incidents that occurred in close proximity to one another earlier in the month.
Police officers arrested Kimani A. House, 30; Tremaine L. Dennard, 20; Jamel A. Booker, 19; and two 18-year old males when they pulled the group over for a traffic violation in an area “designated specifically for saturation patrols” equipped with a police detail.
House fled the scene to the rooftop of a residence on the 200 block of West Buffalo St. According to The Journal, the IPD, assisted by the state police and Tompkins County Sheriff’s Deputies, cornered House, then negotiated with him and arrested him.
Officers retrieved a loaded .357 Smith and Wesson pistol. The serial number on it had been filed off. Police also seized the package of narcotics, which tested positive as 40 packages of crack cocaine.
The Journal wrote that all five individuals were charged with: “second-degree criminal possession of a weapon, a Class C felony; third-degree criminal possession of a weapon, a Class D felony; and seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, a Class A misdemeanor.”
Booker hails from Lansing and the remaining four are from Ithaca.
However, House was also charged with two counts of third-degree criminal possession of a weapon and resisting arrest. Previously, House spent three years in prison for two separate felony drug convictions. He is being held at the Tompkins County Jail without bail.
Last Thursday, police on the detail stopped Messiah Flowers, 28, on West State St. and found he was intoxicated and driving on a suspended license. When they searched Flowers’ car, they found a 9mm Helwan pistol and 78.68 grams of marijuana. The police said that Flowers’ did not have a permit for the gun and the serial number has been filed off.
Flowers, also known as Messiah Reed, was arraigned in Ithaca City Court and sent to the Tompkins County. Previously, Flowers was convicted of attempted first-degree murder robbery and second-degree assault related to a pair of robberies that occurred in Ithaca in 2001.
Court papers indicate that Flowers robbed two people in one day along with a 15-year-old accomplice and threatened one victim with a knife and the other with a paint-ball gun.
In September, The Sun reported on the arrests of three individuals who were part of a drug ring known as “Echols Organization,” which is alleged to have sold cocaine in Tompkins County. The four men, Curtis Echols of Rochester, along with his two sons Curtis McCool and Darrel L. Bailey, and Ithaca resident Kelly Keefe were charged on 30 counts of drug trafficking.
Tompkins County District Attorney Gwen Wilkinson told The Journal she expected these arrests to make a “significant dent” in the drug trade in Ithaca.
Wilkinson also expressed to The Journal that cocaine is an ongoing problem in the city of Ithaca.
Also in September, Whitley “Cash” Taylor, 26, along with Frisco C. Meeks, 20, were convicted of robbing students in and around the Cornell area. Taylor and Cash robbed people under the pretense they wanted to buy marijuana from the victims. When the victims met with the two men, Taylor and Cash would pull out a gun and rob them. Cash faces four years in prison and Meeks will serve three-and-a-half years.