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Police arrest 11 suspected drug dealers in Essex County

Police arrested 11 individuals from Essex County on Wednesday morning, all for suspicion of illegally selling drugs.

Nine suspects from Ticonderoga and two from Elizabethtown are being held on bail in Essex County jail.

State police said the drug bust is part of an ongoing investigation into drug dealing across the region and that more arrests are expected. The investigation is part of a statewide crackdown targeting the sale of illegal prescription drugs.

Lieutenant Chuck Potthast with New York State Police Troop B says the bust sends a strong message.

"This is not going to be tolerated," he said. "If people are doing these things and think they're not being watched, they're wrong."

Arrest warrants were served on several people who police believe were involved in the illegal sale of cocaine, heroin and prescription medications.

The suspects face class-B felony charges for criminal sale of a controlled substance and could face as many as nine years in prison.

Essex County District Attorney Kristy Sprague said the suspects were all unemployed and receiving disability insurance benefits while getting prescription drugs through Medicaid.

"They're doctor shopping and getting multiple prescriptions," Sprague said, adding that the prescription drugs they rounded up include heavy-duty painkillers and other narcotics that lead to accidental deaths and higher crime rates.

Police said anyone with information about illegal drug use should report it to the Essex County Sheriff's Department.

The following individuals were taken into custody this week: 61-year-old George J. Riper Jr., 43-year-old Penny M. Bennett, 49-year-old William R. Brown, 49-year-old Christine H. Brown, 41-year-old James T. Blanchard, 21-year-old Brianna K. Ives, 32-year-old Stacie A. Bush, 24-year-old Scott J. Bessette, and 22-year-old Kristopher M. Porter, all from Ticonderoga.

Police also arrested 41-year-old Shirley E. Church and 50-year-old Joseph R. Martinez, both of Elizabethtown.

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