Another law enforcement officer has joined the long list of public officers charged with illegal drug possession or sales within the past few years. This time it is the 52-year-old male police chief of the village of Portville who has been arrested on drug charges. The New York State Police charged the man with fifth-degree criminal possession of a controlled drug and fifth-degree criminal sale of a controlled drug, which are both felonies. They charged him also with the misdemeanor of official misconduct.
He allegedly possessed pain medication that he sold to another person while on duty. He was put on administrative leave by the Village Board. Civil Service regulations mandate that the individual will lose his job if he is convicted of any of the charges. The arrest was investigated and spearheaded by the Bureau of Criminal Investigations and Community Narcotics Enforcement Team, part of the New York State Police.
As always, the defendant will benefit by making no statements to the authorities until he has met and consulted with his criminal defense attorney. The attorney should be with him if it is decided that any statements will be given or questions answered. Counsel will be able to determine what defenses exist after making a thorough review of the facts, including the detailed circumstances of the alleged transaction.
These facts indicate at least the possibility that the defendant was not intentionally selling controlled pills and may not have acted with the criminal intent or mens rea to establish a crime under New York law. It will have to be proved beyond a reasonable doubt that money changed hands specifically for the purpose of compensation for the controlled pain killers. If the amount of pills was minimal, the chances of winning the drug charges case before a jury becomes much more feasible. It may be more difficult to defeat the official misconduct charge but it is far too early in the process, and not enough facts are known, for making such determinations.
Source: bradfordera.com, "Head of Portville Village Police faces felony drug charges", Christopher Michel, Sept. 24, 2015