Amsterdam men plead guilty to drug charges

By HEATHER NELLIS

Recorder News Staff

FONDA -- Two men arrested in an Amsterdam drug bust in February pleaded guilty at Montgomery County Court Monday to respective drug charges involving cocaine.

James D. Passaniti Jr., 27, of 46 Storrie St., pleaded guilty to fourth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, according to officials in the office of District Attorney James E. "Jed" Conboy.

Passaniti be sentenced in September to five years of probation requiring participation in the county's Adult Drug Court Treatment Program, and ordered to forfeit $7,765 seized during the raid.

Jose A. Carrero, 24, of 100 Virginia Lane, pleaded guilty to third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance, also cocaine.

He'll be sentenced in May to serve a six-year state prison term, with 1.5 years of post-release supervision.

Authorities executed search warrants at four locations Feb. 13, including the residences of both Passaniti and Carrero.

Amsterdam police said the warrants were obtained based on drug sales that occurred over the course of a four-month-long investigation set off by tips from local residents. Complaints ranged from heavy traffic to people stopping at homes all hours of the day.

During the service of the search warrants, over a half ounce of cocaine, more than 1.5 pounds of marijuana, approximately $8,700 and various drug paraphernalia were seized from the four locations.

A starter pistol and three long guns were also seized.

Police said there were a lot of complaints about Passaniti's residence -- where a significant portion of the drugs seized during the raid.

In addition to Passaniti and Carrero, three other city residents were arrested during the February raids, which were conducted by the Amsterdam Police Department in conjunction with the State Police Community Narcotics Enforcement Team, Montgomery County Sheriff's Office, the regional SWAT team, and the State Police Special Operation Response Team.