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Former Ogdensburg woman given year to get treatment, cooperate with prosecutors in drug case

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CANTON - A former Ogdensburg woman charged with running a drug den in the city has been placed on interim probation with a stern warning she could be facing years in state prison if she fails to comply with the terms of her plea bargain agreement.

Christina R. Crosby, 27, of Utica, formerly of 514 Crescent St., Apt. 4, Ogdensburg, was scheduled to be sentenced for her convictions for third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance and tampering with physical evidence convictions.

But St. Lawrence County Court Judge Jerome J. Richards, following a lengthy dialogue with Public Defender Stephen D. Button, agreed to place Crosby on interim probation and adjourn her sentencing until Sept. 16, 2013. Her supervision was transferred to Oneida County.

The county court judge stipulated Crosby must get a substance abuse evaluation and comply with any recommended treatment and cooperate as required by the prosecutor’s office against her co-defendants.

Judge Richards, reading from the pre-sentence investigation, noted Crosby had reported she had been advised by her probation officer not to engage in treatment until after her supervision had been transferred to Oneida County at sentencing. The court had previously directed Crosby to seek an evaluation prior to probation.

He pointed out the probation department had recommended Crosby, who had a limited legal history prior to her arrests in Ogdensburg, be sentenced to jail time.

“She believes it is more important to follow the directions of her probation officer rather than the specific directions of the court. It’s not credible. It’s not making any sense, especially in light of her hesitancy to discuss with probation the events that put her here,” Judge Richards said.

Mr. Button argued his client had cooperated with probation officials, but Judge Richards wasn’t swayed.

“Do you think the defendant gets to pick and choose? This is an extremely serious offense. I can’t force her to cooperate, but there are consequences. You are looking at 13 years in state prison,” he told the former Ogdensburg woman.

“Mr. Button, it was very specific. Test negative for drugs. Comply with probation. I presume the reason she didn’t cooperate is she is protecting her two co-defendants. I expected she would say more than I don’t want to talk about it. She shouldn’t be hiding behind that,” he said.

The county court judge noted he has to serve as the arbiter on plea bargain agreements.

“Prosecutors believe plea agreements are contracts, and defendants should have to follow every condition and if they don’t the agreement is void. Defense attorneys don’t think that way. They want to get as many breaks as they can get,” he said.

Crosby was indicted April 23 for felony first-degree criminal nuisance and felony tampering with physical evidence. Crosby was also indicted on six counts of felony third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance. Several of the drug sale counts were later dismissed following a review by the county court judge.

She was accused of selling cocaine on three occasions to a wired police informant in March and April, according to court documents. Crosby also is accused of using her residence as a place to sell cocaine, court documents said.

Ogdensburg City Police, assisted by other area law enforcement agencies on April 10, arrested three people on crack cocaine drug charges following a warranted search of one of the suspect’s apartment at 514 Crescent St.

William A. “A.J.” Russell Jr., 22, of 20 Pompie Road, Elizabethtown, N.C., and Deloyd M. “Chop” Lesane, 33, of 401 Center Road, Elizabethtown, N.C., were charged with felony third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance.

The department’s Narcotics Enforcement Unit was assisted by the St. Lawrence County Drug Task Force, which included officers from the county Sheriff’s Department and the Gouverneur and Potsdam police departments.

Police said that the three suspects were “part of an non-local drug organization that has been trafficking and distributing drugs in and around the city of Ogdensburg for greater than a year. These individuals are responsible for bringing in and selling large quantities of crack cocaine to Ogdensburg.”

Police said Russell and Lesane used Crosby’s apartment as a base for their local operation.

Crosby was charged with criminal nuisance from her alleged involvement and gain from the sales of crack cocaine from the apartment that she was leasing. Police said she was charged with tampering with physical evidence for destroying drug evidence while officers were attempting to enter the residence.

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