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Massena couple sent back to jail after court appearance on gun, cocaine charges

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MASSENA - A Massena couple was sent back to the county jail after their attorneys waived their rights to have a preliminary hearing within 144 hours of their arrests on felony charges.

Village police charged Andrew J. Katura, 30, of 55 Liberty Ave., Massena, with felony counts of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, third-degree criminal possession of a weapon - assault rifle, and third-degree criminal possession of a weapon - high capacity ammo feeding device following the execution of a search warrant March 28 at his residence .

He was also charged with a misdemeanor count of fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon. Police also charged Katura with a second count of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance stemming from a sale that took place in January.

His girlfriend, Amber M. Miller, 28, same address, was charged with felony counts of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance and third-degree criminal possession of a weapon - assault rifle and a misdemeanor charge of fourth-degree criminal possession of marijuana.

St. Lawrence County Assistant Public Defender Alison B. Appleby noted the probation department had recommended that Miller, her client, be released under the supervision of the probation department with a stipulation she undergo a chemical dependency evaluation, a position supported by St. Lawrence County Assistant District Attorney Michael Gebo.

Massena Village Justice Eric J. Gustafson sent Miller back to the St. Lawrence County Correctional Facility with bail continued at $10,000 cash. He said he would be willing to release Miller from custody when a bed becomes available in an in-patient substance abuse treatment program.

Defense attorney Bradford Riendeau also waived the timeliness of a preliminary hearing for Katura.

“We have discussed paths to a possible resolution of this case with the district attorney’s office,” he said.

Mr. Riendeau told the court his client was in need of some form of drug treatment.

Mr. Gustafson sent Katura back to the county jail with bail continued at $40,000 cash and ordered a chemical dependency evaluation for the Massena man.

Katura and Miller were charged with possessing an AR-15 that had been reported stolen earlier in the day by Timothy Alguire, 345 East Orvis St. Katura, a convicted felon, was also reportedly in possession of a fully-loaded 30-round magazine.

Police also reportedly found several grams of cocaine packaged for sale in 27 plastic bags and over 6 ounces of marijuana during their search of the residence.

The rifle was reportedly located at 223 East Hatfield St., the residence of Stephen A. Richards.

Mr. Richards, in the statement he provided police, said Katura had brought the AR-15 to his residence after calling him.

“Andy ... told me he wanted to show me the gift he had bought for himself but would not tell me what it was over the phone,” he said, noting Katura arrived at his residence carrying a black duffel bag.

He said Katura then pulled what he termed an “AR style automatic rifle” out of the bag.

“Andy told me he had just bought the gun for $500. Andy then showed me some loose bullets he had and said on Monday he wanted me or Amber to register the gun so it would be legal. Andy then asked me to hold on to the gun until then,” Mr. Richards said in his statement to police.

The East Hatfield Street resident said he left the rifle in the duffel bag and put it in the corner of his living room.

“At no time did I ever think the gun had been stolen,” he assured police in his statement.

Village police had charged Mr. Alguire’s son, Timothy D. Jr., 34, of 95 South Grasse River Road, Massena, with fourth-degree grand larceny earlier on the day of the raid after he allegedly stole the Ruger SR 556 A-15, owned by his father, from 345 East Orvis St.

The younger Alguire said he had gone to his father’s residence to take a gun he stored there and while there took the AR-15. The elder Mr. Alguire told police he had purchased that AR-15 from his son for $1,600 in April 2013.

Court statements indicated Alguire said at various times he had given the AR-15 to someone he owed a debt to, sold the weapon for $1,900 and sold the weapon for $2,000.

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