QUEENSBURY — Two Massachusetts residents were sent to Warren County Jail on Wednesday, hours after State Police seized a loaded handgun, drugs and an estimated $40,000 in cash from a vehicle they were travelling in, officials said.
Among the duo was Springfield, Massachusetts resident Eddie Santiago, a 42-year-old man who served a federal prison sentence between 2004 and 2010 in connection with a large-scale cocaine distribution network in Massachusetts.
Police said Santiago was driving north on the Northway shortly after 11:15 p.m. Tuesday when troopers pulled him over for driving erratically and not signaling when changing lanes.
Police smelled marijuana, and determined that Santiago had been drinking and was driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol, records show.
A search of the vehicle led to the discovery of an unspecified amount of cocaine as well as the prescription drug Suboxone, marijuana, a loaded .40-caliber semiautomatic Taurus handgun and tens of thousands of dollars, police said.
The gun also had a high-capacity magazine that is illegal under New York state law. The gun was not registered, and Santiago can not possess a weapon because of his criminal record.
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Neither Santiago nor a passenger in the vehicle, Carmen A. Rosario, 43, of Longmeadow, Massachusetts, admitted owning the drugs, weapon or money, so both were charged. The money was seized as suspected proceeds of drug activity.
Each faces felony charges of criminal possession of a weapon and criminal possession of a controlled substance, misdemeanor criminal possession of a controlled substance and Santiago was charged with misdemeanor driving while ability impaired by drugs, police said.
State Police were working to determine where the couple were headed. They believe they had been staying at a hotel in Bolton in recent days.
Both were arraigned and sent to Warren County Jail for lack of bail.
Drug dealers from the Springfield, Massachusetts, area have been significant players in the Vermont and New Hampshire drug trade, but local police have not seen many indications that dealers from that area had tried to make inroads to the local drug scene.