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Pittsford man faces two drug counts following traffic stop in Potsdam

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CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE - POTSDAM - A traffic stop led to two drug charges for a Pittsford man this past weekend.

St. Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department deputies charged Charles L. Bertino, 21, of 1378 Marsh Road, Pittsford, with two counts of fourth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance following a traffic stop shortly before 11 p.m. Saturday on Maple Street.

During a traffic stop, deputies found approximately 6 grams of an off-white, granular substance that tested positive for MDMA, a hallucinogenic substance commonly known as Ecstacy, and approximately 48 grams of a greenish brown hard chunk substance that tested positive for THC. He was also ticketed for operation of a vehicle with insufficient tail lights.

He was arraigned by Potsdam Village Justice Nicholas Pignone and sent to the St. Lawrence County Correctional Facility with bail set at $1,000 cash or $2,000 bond.

Bertino, in a statement he provided police, said he was driving to Vermont with two friends to visit another friend when he was stopped by police and told he had a tail light out on his 2001 Subaru Imprezza.

During the course of the stop, Bertino said the deputy asked him to step out of his vehicle and then told him he could smell marijuana inside the vehicle and asked him where it was located. “I knew a had a little bag of marijuana in the car, and I was nervous so I told him I didn’t have any,” he recalled.

He said the deputy patted him down and then had his two passengers step out of the vehicle as other police officers arrived at the traffic stop.

He said drugs were located when they searched his vehicle. “One was a baggie which contained Kief, another old prescription bottle which contained Kief and a cigarette box which contained a small Ziplock baggie which contained Molly. The Molly was given to me by a friend the previous day at a party who said he didn’t want it anymore,” Bertino said in his statement, noting he has forgotten the prescription bottle was in his vehicle.

“I did know I had it. I just didn’t know it was with me. I had planned to bring this stuff to Vermont with me to have with my friends and just relax for the weekend in the mountains,” he added.

Bertino told police he had no intention of selling the drugs and that his friends had nothing to do with the drugs that were located in the vehicle.

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