MASSENA - A Russell woman facing several drug-related charges stemming from an incident last week when she was found driving a vehicle with two flat tires got a break this week on drug charges pending in Massena Village Court.
Leona M. Schwartfigure, 40, of Canton had an unlawful possession of marijuana count dismissed. The court had previously dismissed seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and having a controlled substance not in its original container charges following a 2010 motion filed by St. Lawrence County Assistant Public Defender Steve Ballan and not opposed by prosecutors.
Mr. Ballan had argued that Lyrica, the drug possessed by Schwartfigure, was not listed as a scheduled controlled substance, an argument that had been acknowledged by St. Lawrence County Assistant District Attorney Jonathan Becker in a July 2010 filing with the court.
But Mr. Becker had argued vehemently against Mr. Ballans request to have the marijuana violation dismissed at that time. He noted in his response to Mr. Ballans 2010 motion that Schwartfigure had a significant drug and alcohol-related criminal history and suggested dismissing the violation would not be in the interest of justice.
But three years later St. Lawrence County Assistant District Viacheslav Mareyev took a different stance this week. He noted the charge was three years old and made a motion to have the remaining unlawful possession of marijuana charge dismissed in the interest of justice.
The move came just over a week after Canton-based state police charged Schwartfigure with a felony count of driving while ability impaired by drugs, two counts of seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, criminal possession of drug paraphernalia, and two counts of having a controlled substance outside of the original container.
The charges were lodged after troopers stopped Schwartfigure on Feb. 18 in the town of Canton for operating her vehicle with two flat tires.
In other recent court action before Judge Eric Gustafson:
■ Chad W. Amo, 33, of 52 Grove St., Massena, was fined $300 and a $260 surcharge after a driving while intoxicated count was reduced to driving while ability impaired. His operating privileges were suspended for 90 days, and he was placed under a one-year conditional discharge with a stipulation he complete 100 hours of community service.
Amo has been charged with exiting the municipal parking lot on Andrews Street at 2:16 a.m. Feb. 9, going completely sideways and striking the snowbank on the left side of the driveway. He then backed out of the snowbank, partially blocking both lanes of traffic on Andrews Street. He had a blood alcohol content of 0.17 percent, more than double the 0.08 threshold for a DWI charge.
■ Timothy A. Gabri, 55, of 68 Roosevelt Road, Massena, was fined $300 and a $260 surcharge after a driving while intoxicated account was reduced to driving while ability impaired. His operating privileges were suspended for 90 days.
Gabri was traveling on the Willow Street Extension when his motorcycle struck the guardrails about 4 p.m. Aug. 25, according to village police. He was ejected from his motorcycle and found unconscious in the roadway about 20 feet away. He was taken to Massena Memorial Hospital before being flown to Fletcher Allen Health Care, Burlington, Vt. for his treatment of his injuries, where he had been initially listed in critical condition.
A blood test had determined Gabri had a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent, the minimum threshold for a DWI charge.
■ Nolan P. Mitchell, 23, of 6 Maple St., Norfolk, was fined $500 and a $400 surcharge for a driving while intoxicated conviction. He was placed under a one-year conditional discharge, and his operating privileges were revoked for six months.
Mitchell had been stopped by village police at 3:23 a.m. Sept. 16 on Main Street, Massena, for allegedly failing to obey traffic laws and was charged with aggravated DWI. His blood alcohol content was 0.21 percent, police said. A BAC level of 0.08 percent or more is considered proof of intoxication under state law. Aggravated DWI is charged when the BAC is 0.18 percent or more.